Prime Minister Andrew Holness has applauded Red Stripe for taking a bold step to invest $2.2 billion to expand and improve its beer cellars, describing the move as a good indicator that Jamaica is doing well despite some economic hardship.
Holness was keynote speaker at Tuesday's launch of the Red Stripe Cellars Expansion Project at the company's Spanish Town Road complex in St Andrew.
"This [Red Stripe] is the great Jamaican beer. It is part of our cultural legacy, a defining element of our brand and is part of our intellectual property. Two billion dollars of new investment and changing out your technology is very significant. It is a very important sign that the country is doing well. It is a powerful symbol of confidence in Jamaica, and I am here to endorse that," said Holness.
The next step, according to Holness, is to find a way to make this and other massive investments be of economic benefit to ordinary Jamaicans.
"This certainly will secure the employment of the 300 people you employ directly and the almost 8,000 that you impact through the economic stream. Until you get that investment benefiting the people, there is a confounding effect. How do we translate this great news which we see happening all over our country?
"The challenge for Government going forward is to ensure that all these great things are translated for the ordinary person to appreciate and feel a part of this great achievement and recovery. Whenever there is an exogenous impact on our economy, meaning an economic shock that is externally driven, there is fallout in employment and an immediate increase in prices. You also have a lag effect. We have recovered close to 150,000 or more jobs since the pandemic, but we haven't recovered what we lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is going to take some time for perceptions to change and that is why the Government has to continue good and sound fiscal policies. This Government that I lead is continuing to do that. It will not be a sexy thing but I guarantee you that within a year or two, you will start to feel the economic effect of the recovery on the individual household."
Norman Dunn, state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, hailed Red Stripe for having the foresight which caused it to include environmentally friendly technologies in the expanded plant which should help to reduce its carbon footprint.
"We commend you on the diligence you have maintained over the three-year period from design to procurement to commissioning in November 2022. We welcome the 34 per cent increase in capacity that the cellar expansion has brought. This has positive implication for export. Your commitment to innovation will ensure success in return," Dunn said.
The project is part of Red Stripe's ongoing improvement and modernisation of its brewery operations in Jamaica. The expansion increases the storage capacity at Red Stripe to one million hectolitres of beer per year. It is also expected to create improvements in operational health and safety, quality and hygiene.
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