Commercial sugar cane starts production in Australia. A new industry is born as sugar cane is found to be successfully suited to Australia's tropical region.
Favourable growing conditions for sugar cane and an abundance of land has made Bundaberg "Australia's Sugar Cane Capital"
The B.D.C is born and in 1889 began production with a factory & bondstore beside the Millaquin Mill.
The Bundaberg Distilling Company Prospectus
To be Incorporated under the Companies Act 1863, limiting the liability of Members to the amount unpaid on their Shares. CAPITAL: 5000 Pounds, Divided into 5000 Shares of 1 pound each, with power to increase.
August 22nd 1888
The Bundaberg Distilling Company Limited goes into liquidation, a group of men save the company and the Bundaberg Distilling Company carries on creating rum.
B.D.C in liquidation.
Bundaberg Distilling Company, Limited, with a capital of 5000 pounds in shares of 1 pound each, to purchase from the Bundaberg Distilling Company, Limited, in liquidation, the assets of the old company, and to carry on the business of distillers; the registered shareholders are F. F. Nott, J. S. Penny, F. Buss, John Gaylard, A. P. Barton, and Noakes Bros., all of Bundaberg, and H. Palmer, Maryborough.
February 16th 1894
The Boer War breaks out & the armed forces request the entire production of Bundaberg Rum be sent as rations for Australian troops serving in South Africa. This marks the beginning of a long relationship supporting Australian troops overseas.
Fire destroyed the distillery, it wasn't helped by the fact the river was only 100 yards away but no water supply was available. The general manager of the Millaquin & Yengari Sugar Company graciously made Millaquin's water supply available, but there was only 30 pounds of pressure and the jet didn't reach high enough to attack the flames.
1907 Distillery Fire
The fire burned through the night and lit up Bundaberg as if it were day. It destroyed the old building which housed large quantities of raw spirits and the bond next door. 150,000 gallons were set alight. There was much gloom after the fire and for a time it seemed like the famous Bundaberg Rum would be finished forever, but in a little over a year, new buildings and machinery were erected and profits began to climb again as production increased. Estimated damage cost of over 3,000 pounds.
A new distillery has been erected at East Bundaberg for the Millaquin Sugar Company.
A new distillery has been erected at East Bundaberg for the Millaquin Sugar Company, and started working on Saturday morning. The building is the largest of brick in Bundaberg, one of the largest distilleries in the Commonwealth, and the only distillery in Australasia to be worked by chemical control. About 750,000 bricks were used in the walls; these and the large and complicated copper stills, piping and vats have all been made locally. There are two molasses storage tanks, each of 40 000 gallons capacity, while a number of spirit store vats have each a capacity of 12,000 gallons.
The first World War breaks out and is both good & bad for rum makers. Production of pure alcohol and methylated spirits almost ceased, but the manufacture of rum was the preferred industry as it was essential to the war effort. Almost the entire Bundaberg Rum production was commandeered, leaving very little for the general public. Bundaberg Distilling Company enjoyed a fine guaranteed market during World War I. Production of rum in 1917 was the highest in the history of the company.
21st October - Bundy Winged Wheel is now a registered TM
Night of the 21st November. The Bundaberg Rum Distillery is once again destroyed by fire and stops production. The cause of the fire was a lightning strike to one of the bonds. According to news reports 63 Vats each holding 10,000 gallons of rum were destroyed - Courtesy of NLA
The Bundaberg Distilling Company annouces it is back making rum after a 3 year absence.
World War II, Once again rum supplies are sent to Armed Forces and the general public were lucky to see any Bundaberg Rum for 3 years. American soldiers whilst in Australia on R & R during the war discovered Bundaberg Rum and enjoyed drinking it with cola. The Distillery came up with a solution, a mix of Bundaberg Rum & cola in a bottle.
Bundaberg Rum is disguised in many different labels. The Bundaberg Distilling Company begins to sell rum in barrels as overproof to agents who bottle it under their own labels.
An icon is born. Sam Mcmahon, brother of Prime Minister Bill McMahon, designs the square bottle, the 3 piece yellow label and the polar bear. McMahon believed the polar bear would imply this drink would ward of the coldest chill of winter which would help the marketing of Bundaberg Rum in southern states of Australia.
The bear has undergone a few changes since it was first created.
Bundaberg Distilling Company starts bottling its own products from the bottling line which was left over fom when Millaquin ceased production of its white rum. The BDC began an international marketing campaign to tell the world about "The Spirit of Australia."
Bundaberg Distilling Company releases the mind blowing 33OP. This rum has 75.9% Alc/Vol and it was the highest alcohol content rum the BDC has released. It was discontinued in the late 80's.
Bundaberg Distilling Companies Master Distiller Dr. Lou Muller sets aside Vat100 which is destined to become the famous "Bundaberg Black Rum"
Bundaberg Distilling Company celebrates its 100th Anniversary with an elegant french decanter and a 5 year old rum that came from Vat100. The decanter had to be recalled shortly after its release as shards of glass were found in some decanters. Everyone who wished to return the decanter got a replacement with a shorter neck.
Vat100 has been sitting and waiting for this day to come. The Famous "Bundaberg Black" is born. Aged 10 years and released in 700ml and 1125ml bottles. Approx 120,000 bottles released. This is the start of 11 years of Bundaberg Black.
1996 - 1999
Bundaberg Distilling Company continues to release the Bundaberg Black series over the next 4 years. 1125ml are sold in duty free stores and 700ml is sold in bottleshops. Bundaberg Distilling Companies premium aged rum is on its way to becoming an icon with Australian drinkers.
The Bundy Bear has been redesigned and is now facing right, all bottles including the black series now has this "Type 2" bear on the labels.
Bundaberg Pure Gold is released to Duty Free Stores only. It has been 12 years since a different bottle was used in a release and the B.D.C has chosen wisely as this bottle is spectacular, it looks even better when you see it in person.
1990 Vat79 is released, 6th Release in the black series. 700ml & 1125ml. Did not come with a box
December 6th - Diageo acquires Bundaberg Distilling Company. A sad day for an Australian icon.
Info courtesy of Just-drinks.com
Diageo Acquires B.D.C
Diageo acquires Bundaberg Rum from Bundaberg Sugar Group Ltd - Diageo PLC today announces the acquisition of Bundaberg Rum, following an agreement by United Distillers and Vintners Australia, which is part of its beverage alcohol business Guinness UDV, to purchase 50% of the Bundaberg Rum brand and business from Bundaberg Sugar Group Ltd. UDV Australia already owns 50% of Bundaberg Rum and has acted as the marketing, sales and distribution agent for the brand since 1991. The purchase price, which is not material to Diageo plc, is not disclosed.
1991 Black Vat70 is released, 7th release in the black series. Came in 700ml and 1125ml. Each bottle individually numbered.
This set of bottles was released in conjuntion with the 2003 Rugby World Cup. These 4 bottles are very rare as they were sent to bottleshops as normal UP bottles and many were opened and consumed. There was 180 framed sets made. 60 had signatures of the players on the bottle, 120 were unsigned.
1994 Vat166 - 8th Release in the Bundaberg Black Series. Aged 10 Years. Released in both 700ml & 1125ml. Larger size was available at duty free stores only.
2 label - bear 3 starts to make its way onto bottles. This label was stopped in 2010.
September - Bundaberg "Distllers No.3" is released. This triple distilled rum was discontinued in 2009. It was regards by many as the best rum the BDC had produced.
1994 Vat65 - 9th Release in the Bundaberg Black series. Aged 8 years. Released in 700ml & 1125ml. Larger size available in duty free stores only and was boxed.
1996 vat9 - 10th Release in the Bundaberg Black series. Aged 8 years. Released in 700ml & 1125ml. Larger size available in duty free stores only and was boxed.
May 22nd Bundaberg Rum "18 Year Old"- Was limited to 5,142 Bottles, but rum was running low at the 4,800 bottle mark, production numbers didn't actually reach 5,142, the highest known number is currently 4,870, however it is believed there were only 4,890 produced, 37% ALC/VOL 700mL. R.R.P. $150
1500 bottles of 1996 Black vat9 are released from the bondstore. These were held back from the initial release, they came with a box and an information booklet.
July - Bundaberg Aged 8 Years 2007 - Matured in oak over time to create a richer, smoother character, 40.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release 57,000 bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. $49.99
April - Bundaberg Aged 8 Years 2008 - Matured in oak over time to create a richer, smoother character, 40.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release), 700mL. R.R.P. $49.99
Bundaberg "101" - Rich, dark and with a hint of smoke. Released to commemorate the 1907 fire at the Bundaberg Distillery, 40.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release 87,288 bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. $49.99
October - Bundaberg "Red" - A new line of Bundaberg Rum, filtered through Australian Red Gum, 37.0% ALC/VOL, 700/1000mL. R.R.P. $35.00/$50.00
June - Bundaberg "Reserve" - First 5000 bottles were released only at the Bondstore with COA, then released into bottleos as a standard bottle, 40.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release 5,000 bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. $40.00
July - Bundaberg "Red Racing" - Created to commemorate the launch of Bundaberg Red Racing contesting the 2009 Australian V8 Supercar Championship and came boxed with COA, 37.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release 6,000 bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. $45.00
May - Employee release of 200 numbered bottles of UP 700ml with "First Release. May 2010. Commemorating the launch of our new Bundaberg Rum Bottle Design." Start of the Bear 4 Label.
July 25th - Bundaberg "100 Proof" - 100 proof is a stronger and more intense version of the Traditional and Red Bundaberg, 50.0% ALC/VOL, 700mL. R.R.P. $50.00
August 15th - Bundaberg "Cats, Cowboys, Broncos" - Commissioned to celebrate the partnership between Bundaberg Rum and their major football partners, the Brisbane Broncos, the North Queensland Cowboys and the Geelong Cats.
November - Bundaberg "2010 GG Blend" - Released to full time employees to celebrate one of BDC's longest serving employees "Graham Golchert". The Blend marks a tribute to the ingenious spirit of Graham and uses the oldest rum ever, 35 years, in a Bundaberg Rum Release. Made and signed by Graham Golchert, 40.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release approx 240 bottles), 700mL.
November - Bundaberg "Founding Fathers" - Aged 5 years to commemorate the Founding Fathers who in 1894 saved BDC from liquidation, 37.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release approx 56,000 bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. $38.00
December 12th - Bundaberg Black 2000 Vat 26 - 11th Release. Aged 10 years, released only at the bondstore with box and COA,(Limited Release 12,000 bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. Numbers 4 -999 were $150, numbers 1000 - 12000 were $100
March 6th - Bundaberg Master Distillers #1 (Aged 10 Years)
Master Distillers Collection
March 6th - Bundaberg Master Distillers #1 (Aged 10 Years) - Crafted by 3 Master Distillers at the BDC, Phil Larsen, Rick Prosser and Damien O'Neall. Five unique bottle codes were released, NO - Distillery only release and BD, BR, BU, MD which were sent to bottleos around Australia, Aged 10 years, 40.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release approx 39,500 bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. $80.00
April 16th - Bundaberg "Watermark" Commemorative Rum - Aged 5 years to "Mark" where the flood water peaked, All profits from this release were given to the QLD flood relief appeal (Limited Release 75,000 bottles) R.R.P. $40.00
More images courtesy of News-Mail
June 5th - Bundaberg "Five" - Released to compete with other white rums on the market, BDC's first attempt at a white rum since the 1970's - Approx 10,000 numbered bottles(4 - 999 came with a box) and then released to bottleos unnumbered. 700/1125mL. R.R.P. $35/$50
July 3rd - Bundaberg "Racing" - The first sponsor to have a V8 Supercar, a V8 Ute and an Australian GT Championship Lotus all racing for the same team, 37.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release 30,000 bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. $40.00
August 4th - Bundaberg "Collectors" Label - A Special Edition label to commemorate 1000 "Likes" on the Collectors Facebook page and the start of the Collectors website. (Limited Release 1200 labels) Many of these labels were placed on bottles of Reserve as the dark colour of the rum matched the label perfectly.
September 25th - Bundaberg Master Distillers #2 (Port Barrel)
Master Distillers Collection
September 25th - Bundaberg Master Distillers #2 (Port Barrel)- Carefully selected rum reserves have been finished in Port Barrels from the famous South Australia Barossa region and then meticulously blended with traditionally finished 6 year old rums. "NO" code released at the distillery and the 1st 1000 came with a box $100, 250 phone order boxes $20, other codes delivered to bottle shops around Australia. 6 other codes, BU ND AB ER GR UM , 40.0% ALC/VOL (Limited Release ? bottles), 700mL. R.R.P. $80.00
November 13th - To commemorate 50 years of Bundy R. Bear. The Rum is aged 1961 days (1961 being the year the bear was introduced) 3 Bottles released, two of which were at the bondstore & Dan Murphys, the other was released to independent bottleos Australia wide. There was a rumour that this release would have a bear shaped bottle, but that stayed a rumour.
March 11th - Bundaberg Master Distillers #3 (Golden Reserve) - Is the result of incredible synergy between five premium rums. The 1st 999 came with a box $110, 250 phone order boxes $20, 700mL. R.R.P. $90
March 11th - Spiced Rum. A Dan Murphys and Bondstore exclusive bottle, Dan Murphys jumped the gun and released it early and the bondstore had to start selling their stock for the price which dans was selling them for. it was meant to be released at the bondstore in conjunction with MDC3. A limited trial run of approx 33,000 bottles.
May 20th - Darren Lockyer Commemorative Rum. Released to celebrate 6 years of State of Origin success and the achievements Darren Lockyer has had in his Rugby League career. Approx 37,800 bottles released. The first 200 bottles were signed by Darren Lockyer at the release.
June 24th - Bundaberg "Select Vat" Rum. A double aged rum which is selected from a single Vat which has shown exceptional qualities. First 5,000 bottles numbered and sold out on the day at the Bondstore, then released un-numbered into bottleshops around Australia. Actual bottles produced is unknown. RRP $47.99
June 2012 - New labels start appearing in bottleshops. The caps across the range are now all black and bottle labels now feature horizontal writing.
MDC4 "Dark Oak" - Released 14th October 2012, Premium rum reserves aged in heavily charred oak barrels. Has a simlilar taste to the black series and MDC1.
Select Vat 315" - The Release of these numbered bottles happened differently to a normal release, an online lottery was conducted for bottles #4 - #999 where you filled in all your information on a webpage and then 1000 entries were randomly selected to win a ticket to purchase a numbered bottle.
MDC5 - Double Barrel" - Released 16th March 2013, Two brain flashes saw the Collective devise a unique double barrel finishing process. Why 'Double Barrel', you ask? Glad you asked. Because the Distillery's finest rum reserves take an extra nap - first in port barrels, for exceptional character and smoothness, followed by old sherry casks, creating a touch of sweetness and more balance then a tightrope walker.
MDC5 - Double Barrel
It all makes for one intensely complex rum that retains the hallmark Bundaberg rum flavour while introducing delicate layers of honey, caramel and spice.
Road to Recovery" - Released 16th March 2013, On the 27th January 2013 Bundaberg suffered its worst flood in its history. Much of Bundaberg was underwater and even the Bundaberg Distillery suffered some inundation. This limited edition bottle was released to help Bundaberg on its Road to Recovery.
Road to Recovery
This release was limited to one bottle per person and only available at the distillery, the price was $60. Approx. 355 different labels were produced each one with a different street name that was flooded on that terrible day in January. Each member of a household that was flooded got a free bottle of "Road to Recovery" on release day.
4.5L Cradle - Released in late June 2013, This is the first time the Bundaberg Distilling Company has release a 4.5L Bottle in a swing cradle. It came with a recommended retail price of $279
125th Anniversary UP - Started appearing on bottleshop shelves in early July 2013, The bottle now has a redesigned bottom and back label to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Bundaberg Distilling Company.
125th Anniversary Distillers No.3 - Listening to the avid collectors of Bundaberg Rum, the BDC decided to re-release a classic for a limited time. Distillers No.3 was loved by many and when it was discontinued in 2009 it quickly dissapeared off the bottleshop shelves. This Limited Edition was released at the Bondstore on the 5th August 2013 and to bottleshops later the same week. Drinkers and Collectors have noticed that it does not have the exact taste of the original but is still a very nice drop.
125th Anniversary of the Bundaberg Distilling Company. On the 22nd November 1888, The Bundaberg Distilling Company was officially incorporated. In it's prospectus, it was suggested to establish its premises costing £3000 and projected a 40% return on capital from an estimated output of 318,000 litres of rum.
125th Anniversary Bottles Released 23rd November 2013. A milestone occasion needed an insipring bottle and the BDC has come up with a beauty. A 700ml and 125ml set. The most expensive bottle of Bundaberg Rum ever made. The 700ml bottle cost $1250 whilst the 125ml costs a staggering $125, thats $1 per ml of Rum. Only 1888 700ml bottles and 3000 125ml bottles were made making this the smallest ever public release and ensuring these bottle go up in value as time goes on.