Plans for rum distillery at Northern Rivers sugar mill

BROADWATER could soon home a new rum distillery if the region's sugar mill has its way.

Sunshine Sugar's Chief Executive Officer Chris Connors said they hope to take a business case to the board as early as next month.

"We went through a pretty detailed investigation and we worked with one of the major distillers in the world," Mr Connors said.

"We looked at a bulk distillery in the first place and that was a pretty big operation but we found the market just wasn't there for it."

"We then had an alternative consultant we were working with alongside the other group and we decided to come back and have a look at some of the niche products we could make; gins, whiskies and particular rums."

It is one among half a dozen potential projects the organisation is pursuing as part of their diversification program and strategic plan.

"We've said that in the next five years we want to have at least five different income streams coming out of sugar cane," Mr Connors said.

"We don't want to be purely reliant on white refined sugar, so as a part of that program we've got around half a dozen projects that we're very close to finalising business cases."

Before plans can be seen by the board, steps must be taken to finalise costs and marketing. 

"I think we are pretty close to actually having all that information, so it is not that far off us being able to take something to a board and to our bank," Mr Connors said.

"If we put a business case together in the next month, then I expect it to take 12 to 18 months before we can get anything completed and start to process the products."

The distillery is said to also include a retail shop and cafe.

"We've already spoken to council about it, they're very keen for us to progress and they're very positive about the whole project."

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