BREWERY EXPANSION – The Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, Minister for Grand Bahama, centre, congratulates James Sands, left, president of the Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company on the announcement of a further $2 million expansion to his Queen’s Highway-based facility. Also pictured is Melvin Seymour, permanent secretary at the Ministry for Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo/Lisa Davis)

FREEPORT, The Bahamas – While some companies and local residents are still in a recovery mode from the recent passing of Hurricane Matthew, Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company Limited is expressing confidence in the economic climate of Grand Bahama by announcing a $2 million expansion.

Company president, James “Jimmy” Sands made the official announcement during a press conference at the Ministry for Grand Bahama on Monday evening, February 6.

Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville said he was delighted with the news and in fact pointed out that construction is well underway for the additional storage facility at the Queen’s Highway-based plant.

He noted that the company first opened its doors in 2007 with just fourteen employees and an initial investment of some $15 million.

“Over the years the staff count has grown to some 120 persons, the investment has tripled, and the Brewery is making a major economic impact to the island of Grand Bahama.

“Today marks an exciting one in the history of the Bahamian Brewery which to-date, remains a 100 percent Bahamian-owned and operated company, as they are now set to invest another $2 million to expand the warehousing capacity of their business here in Grand Bahama,” Mr. Darville stated.

The Minister further remarked that the expansion is yet another sign of the strong investor confidence in both the Government’s policies as well as the local economy on Grand Bahama.

He pointed out that in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew many businesses in Grand Bahama sustained damage and that he is pleased to hear Mr. Sands talk about the investment, which he described as a “clear indication that the Grand Bahama economy, even though it has been impacted by Hurricane Matthew, local businesses are still going on with initial investment.”

Mr. Sands indicated that his company will continue with its upgrades as needed in Grand Bahama, and that several years ago he chose to invest in the island because of its geographical position, and some benefits that attracted him. He admitted also that he had a “soft spot” for Grand Bahama with his mother being born at West End.

He pointed out that he has been in the industry for a long time, working firstly in the former company of his father, Butler and Sands.

With a passion for the beverage industry, Mr. Sands said his decision to return was based on the fact that “it was being monopolized,” he said: he then took it upon himself to bring the industry “back to the Bahamian people, where he thought it belonged.” He declared that the company he created, a mult-million dollar investment, has been a success because of the Bahamians he has employed: “This is a 100 percent Bahamian-owned and operated company which I am very proud to say.”

He also took time out to thank and say how very proud he is of his 92-year-old father, Everette Sands, whom he described as still being quite active. He continued, he has four children, two of whom are employed with the company and will ensure its survival even after he leaves the scene.

By Simon Lewis
Bahamas Information Services