Lifestyle

Bar None: Inside J Wray & Nephew's new corporate office

Sunday, April 13, 2014    

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It makes perfect sense that the name behind one of the world's great rums would have a bar in its new corporate office. But this is no ordinary bar. And the bar is not where this story ends. In fact, the story began more than 180 years ago when John Wray opened the Shakespeare Tavern beside the Ward Theatre. That business evolved into one of the Caribbean's largest exporters-J Wray & Nephew Limited.

Following several months of reorganization, propelled by the acquisition of its parent company Lascelles deMercado by Gruppo Campari, the new J Wray & Nephew was ready for the reimagining of its Dominica Drive, New Kingston corporate office. After several months, and an investment exceeding a quarter-billion Jamaican dollars, the result is a bold statement of J Wray & Nephew's new style - that of a brand-building company with a Jamaican heritage, and a decidedly global perspective.

In addition to the spirits portfolio, J Wray & Nephew today also represents consumer, pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals brands through its divisions Federated Pharmaceuticals and Agricultural Chemicals Plant. The new office houses specialist sales and marketing teams, as well as corporate operations.

Under the direction of designer and project coordinator Marlyn Green, 75 artisans, designers and construction crews created contemporary office space that works. With four vibrant floors of sleek lines, clean hues and smart details, the new space is a victory for comfort and inspiration. Three floors feature a modular, open floor workstation concept along with signature glass frontage offices and meeting rooms with marque branding on each floor, all well suited for collaborative work whether with a colleague three feet away or one who is half the way around the world in Italy, the home of Gruppo Campari.

But, back to the ground floor and the bar. In addition to Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum and Appleton Rum, J Wray & Nephew is home to Jamaica's largest wine and spirits portfolio, including Skyy Vodka and Campari. So how does one celebrate it all? With a bar counter that is nearly 23 feet of resin, metal, laminate wood and acrylic. Graphic accents like lighting cascades, and the sharp lines of the metal wall installation add to the drama. All this is encased in walls dressed in varying tones of grey.

True to form, J Wray & Nephew believes the more you know about its spirits, the more you will enjoy them, and this comes to life in a 16-seat theatre academy, which will host brand immersion seminars. The result will be sharper understanding of premium spirits and, of course, deeper relationships with customers and consumers. There is also a specialty store, simply named The Shop, which is the destination for all things J Wray & Nephew.

Given all that's in place at the Dominica Drive building, there is certainly some cachet in declaring, "I'm going to an event at J Wray & Nephew." For sure, the cocktails will be spectacular!

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