A worker tests coffee beans for Tia Maria. Jamaica, 1958.
© Walter Nurnberg/National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library -- All rights reserved.
Tia Maria drew its distinctive flavour from high grade rum blended with specially cultivated coffee beans. Bookers Brothers owned the Tia Maria plant and company had a major influence on the economic life of the Caribbean until independence in 1966 when British Guiana where they were based became Guyana. The firm employed thousands of people on low wages in a wide range of businesses that had developed from the family’s sugar plantations of the 19th Century. Not only did the company own all of the sugar plantations in Guiana they also lead the import and export of all goods with a fleet of their own ships. Photographed by Walter Nurnberg who transformed industrial and commercial photography after WWII using film studio lighting techniques