Sir John Gay was a respected leader and businessman who worked tirelessly in service of the island of Barbados. A friend of Sir John Gay's, the contrarily named John Sober, inherited a then-unknown distillery and had asked for Sir John's help in managing it. Sir John Gay took quickly to the business of making rum. He refined the distillation process and began producing a noticeably superior product that we know today as Mount Gay Rum. Barbados is an island of warm, friendly people, exciting culture and, in the interest of making rum, a great wealth of natural resources. Originally discovered by the Portuguese, "Barbados" which means bearded ones, was the name given to the island to describe the lush, "bearded" trees that grew in abundance. Later settlers to the island found the rich soil and favorable wet season ideal for growing sugar cane.