A bit of history

The first Isautier family member arrives on Reunion Island

Louis Isautier (1809-1861) left his family own of Nogent sur Seine at the age of 23, and arrived on then Bourbon Island in 1832. His brother Charles (1811-1865) joined him two years later.

Below: Louis Isautier’s passport

When the Isautiers arrived, there were more than 200 sugar mills on the Bourbon Island. The mills were made more and more efficient through the introduction of new processes.The Isautier brothers, who had settled in the South, jumped on the sugar bandwagon: they bought their first plots of land, thus starting a Reunion saga.

Below: St Pierre harbour works seen from the Signal Mast. Lithography by Louis Antoine Roussin, 1860 (Source: Musée Léon Dierx)

Foundation of the first Isautier distillery

On the island since 1832, the Isautier brothers connected to a powerful landowers’ family of the South: the Orrés. Louis married Appolonie Orré in 1835. Apollonie’s first cousin Antoinette Orré became Charles’ wife in 1840. Partners in business, the brothers and their wives founded the family enterprise, centred on sugar and rum production, in 1845.

Opposite: Sugar cane cutting on Reunion Island, 1900-1950 (Source: Reunion Department Archives)

Antoinette Isautier takes charge of the distillery

At the death of the two brothers, Antoinette, helped by her three sons, took over the Isautier business under the name “Widow of Ch. Isautier & Sons.” The Isautier rum, packaged in its signature stoneware bottle, made a splash.

In 1871, the same Antoinette set up the distillery at the corner of Boulevard Hubert Delisle and Rue du Canal Saint-Etienne, now Rue Victor le Vigoureux. A sugar mill was added to the site in the early 20th century. It was connected to the Reunion Island Railway’s line.

Below: The Isautier Distillery in Rue du Canal Saint-Etienne c. 1935

First awards for Isautier Rum

The 1878 Universal Exhibition was the third of its kind in Paris. The house of Isautier presented its rum there for the first time outside Reunion Island. The quality of its products was rewarded by a medal, the first of a long series (1878, 1889 and 1900)

Below: Widow of Ch. Isautier & Sons sandstone bottle, c. 1870: one of the bottles presented at the Universal Exhibitions

The house of Isautier also took part in competitions in the Netherlands (1883 award) and even Moscow, as shown by a 1891 medal.

Above: Early 20th century rum bottle label

A new impulse for Etablissements Isautier

Charles and Anoinette’s grandson Alfred Isautier, born in Saint-Pierre in 1881, bought up his brothers’ shares and founded the Etablissements Isautier.

Above: Alfred Isautier (1881-1955)

Alfred Isautier increased the range of products, in particular with punch recipes, introduced his famous flagship triangular bottle, the distillation column and bagasse heating. He organised the distribution of his products throughout the world. A pioneering mind and large-scale trader, he is one of Isautier’s major figures, the one who led the enterprise into the modern context of the new century.

Below: One of the first triangular bottles, early 20th century

60s to 70s: Times of diversification

Charles Isautier (1917-1990) started a massive diversification of the company’s activities in the 1960s-70s. Sugar industry by-products were processed into various goods such as chocolate, jam, vinegar, perfumes, wax polish, candles, mattresses, cattle food, etc.—so many products made locally that helped transform and enhance the Reunion islanders’ quality of life.

Above: Isautier Chocolate, 1960s

More than sixty companies were set up. In the 80s production was refocused on rum.

Above: “Régal de Bourbon” [Bourbon Delight] jam label, 1960s

The liquor factory is moved

The Isautier liquor factory was moved close to the distillery on a new site in Chemin Frédeline, a few yards from the Saga du Rhum museum.

The factory was built in accordance with sustainable development-oriented specifications including, for instance, France’s first solar air conditioning.

Above: The Isautier Rum and Punch factory in Chemin Frédeline, Saint-Pierre

The values which guide us

HERITAGE TERROIR

For 170 years Distillerie Isautier has made industrial and agricultural rum in true Reunion tradition. This drink, made from a raw material that is closely linked to Reunion’s agricultural heritage, is an integral part of our culture.

QUALITY

Fortified by the excellence of Reunion production, our will is to magnify the island’s fruits and spices through a unique kind of rum.

INNOVATION

Always in search of new trends, we work in the context of a dynamic product, enhancing a modern consuming art.

DIVERSITY

Everyone has their preference; that is why we offer a fine variety of products to take you on a special journey to the heart of Reunion, full of rum and flavours.

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