The Galion plantation estate, which owes its name to the river running alongside it, discloses but a few elements with regards to its history. In the XVII th century, it belongs, as do the most part of the Trinité land holds, to the fiery Dubuc family, whose early descendents rebelled against the authority of the King.
In the XIX th century, Eugène Eustache purchases the estate through auction. In 1862, he assigns Émile Bougenot, an Engineer from the Arts et Métiers Institute, the task of building a rum and a sugar factory which will become the second largest factory of the island. With its highly sophisticated equipment, the estate at the time, pools up to fifteen plantations which supply the cane.
Émile Bougenot continues to foster the development of the factory by enabling Marius Hayot to create the rum, Grand Arôme. Having ensured the recognition and prosperity of the Galion estate, he delegates the management to Joseph de Laguarigue before moving back to mainland France. As of 1905, new equipment is installed to aid production weakened by the sharp drop in market prices, by hurricanes, draughts and the eruption of the Pelee Volcano, and a new species of sugarcane offering a higher yield, is introduced.
During the First World War, rum exports — which are used in the manufacture of explosives — rise to the detriment of sugar which is less profitable. But, with the end of the war, the massive orders cease. It is once again a crisis situation. Sugar production is resumed, but with great difficulty.
Gradually, the sugar and rum production units are separated from the plantation estates and are sold. While most of the stacks cease to smoke, the Galion resists. At the beginning of the 1980s, the factory is taken over by a semi-public firm under the auspices of the General Council: the “cane-sugar-rum” sector is safeguarded — and with it, our link with History.
During sugarcane harvest season (from February to June), the factory unveils the ten major phases of its sugar manufacturing process as well as the secrets of the Grand Arôme distilling procedures.
— Guided tours are conducted from Tuesday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and ends with a tasting session. Group rates and free entry for children under twelve.
The 47% vol. rum, Grand Arôme with its powerful aroma; the (50 and 55% vol.) Grand Fond Galion rum; the 42 % vol. dark rum; raw “batterie” syrup and Galion sugar.
150 employees during harvest season; annual quantity of crushed cane: between 75,000 and 100,000 tons or 1,600 tons per day; molasses production: over 3 million liters; production of sugar plantation rum: 2.5 to 3 million liters.
Usine Galion, 97220 La Trinité
Tel.: +(596 596) 58 20 65 — Fax: +(596 596) 58 42 43