Grecia Trip – Wycombe for Fairtrade – Morning Wednesday 18th May 2022

Day 6 Weds 18th May 2022  Morning – Visit to the FANAL Sugar Cane Distillation Plant

Marie Angela, Greg, and Andres from CoopeVictoria, Sheena, and Mike toured the FANAL sugar cane distillation plant just outside Grecia town, at the invitation of the former Mayor of Grecia, Mainor Molina.

FANAL is a state-owned and managed plant. The plant manager showed us around this interesting and fascinating distillery that extracts methanol from liquid heated from sugar cane liquor, converting it into a range of products, mainly Cacique, a Costa Rican 40% proof rum. Interestingly, Cacique was only allowed to be sold for public consumption within the boarders of Costa Rica only and was not for export.

Caption: FANAL plant. Storage takes containing 2 million liters of sugar cane liquor.

Caption: Heated distilled cane liquour condenses and captured according to alcholol level. 40% proof for Cacique, 90% proof is piped to holding tanks for the health industry.

After the methanol has been extracted by heating the sugar cane alcohol and cooling the steam through heat exchangers, the 94% proof alcohol was diluted down to 40%. Then, the cooled rum goes by a series of pipes to the bottling plant. The remaining industrial strength alcohol was transferred to giant storage tanks awaiting collection by road tankers for transport to processing plants that utilized the 90%+ strength alcohol that was used to make surgical wipes and anti-bacterial hand gels. These gels and wipes were and still are widely used during the global Covid outbreak and in the post Corona virus era.

Caption: Bottling plant production line new bottles being filled with Cacique.

Caption: Filled bottles move on to the capping machine for their tops.

We all received gifts of our visit which included bags, baseball caps advertising Cacique, as well as a liter bottle of rum each. Some of CoopeVictoria’s sugar cane was used by FANAL in its processing.

Caption: FANAL plant director with Mainor Molia, a former Mayor of Grecia.

Caption: End of the production line. Bottles are packed 12 to a box for distribution across Costa Rica.

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