(Doris Maricle / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, November 15, 2013 6:43 PM
LACASSINE — Jeff Davis Parish was the toast of the state Friday when Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Carrie Castille and others raised a glass of Bayou Rum in salute to the newest venture in agritourism to spawn from sugarcane fields.
Louisiana Spirits, a new distillery producing Silver Bayou Rum and Spiced Bayou Rum from locally grown sugarcane, is fastly becoming the newest tourist stop in Jeff Davis Parish.
Open for business on the I-10 South Frontage Road, Louisiana Spirits hopes to attract the thousands of travelers who pass through the area daily.
"This is a marriage between agriculture and tourism," Castille said, as she toured the facility with the throngs of dignitaries attending a VIP grand opening.
Bayou Rum is forecast to be a boon for local farmers as they will use sugarcane grown in Southwest Louisiana for the feed stock for their rum.
"There's no better place to locate than here," Castille said. "This facility is part of a great rural economic development opportunity."
Jeff Davis Economic Development and Tourism Executive Director Marion Fox said, "It's a really special day. This is our newest economic development and tourism project in Jeff Davis Parish. It is critical that all of our state, parish, and local agencies work together to better our state, and this facility is a great example of that cooperation."
Dardenne noted that the facility is a huge contributor to economic development and tourism growth in the region.
"There are thousands and thousands of cars traveling east and west every day," he said. "We want to make this a destination. A place where people can stop, come visit, and see the process and learn about the sugar industry and give them a place to buy souvenirs and make purchases."
Dardenne spoke to the crowd about the prospect for economic development in Louisiana over the next five years and shared a very optimistic outlook.
Louisiana Spirits President Trey Litel spoke of his vision to make Bayou Rum "America's Rum" and the idea of his facility becoming a destination tourism stop that not only helps local farmers, but also contributes to the rise of Louisiana as a destination tourism powerhouse.
During the VIP opening, the crowd enjoyed the local libations, toured the distillery and added to the economic boom of the region by purchasing the many items for sale at the Bayou Rum gift shop.