The fertile banks of the Demerara River were cultivated by indigenous inhabitants long before European planters arrived in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, more than 200 plantations produced sugar and rum in Demerara county. Demerara sugar was much sought after while the rum became one of the key ingredients in the Royal Navy Rum which came to be known as Pusser's Rum.
In the last century, the remaining Guyanese distilleries were consolidated by Demerara Distillers Limited on the site of the Diamond Plantation, and today operates as the sole rum producer in Guyana. With a production capacity of more than 26M liters of pure alcohol annually, DDL sell bulk rum to a number of international blenders and bottlers and bottles rum under their own El Dorado and other labels.
The name Demerara rum refers to rum produced in Guyana. The trademark 'Demerara' lapsed but is being reclaimed. In the meantime, a number of rum and sugar producers around the world have begun using the word Demerara in their product name. In order to protect their name, Demerara Distillers has discontinued the practice of selling bulk rum to other bottlers to be bottled as Demerara rum. Today all rum bottled under the Demerara Rum name must come from Demerara Distillers in Guyana.
Today, DDL operates a number of stills used to make a light and heavy type rums. DDL also operates the last remaining wooden stills in the Caribbean.