In 1983 Bowen & Bowen acquired the Belize Estate & Produce Company Limited (“BEC”), which had been a neglected foreign-owned company with a dubious history in Belize.
Sir Barry M Bowen, KCMG negotiated the acquisition and made BEC Belizean-owned for the first time in its over 100 years of existence.
At the time of Bowen & Bowen’s purchase, Gallon Jug was mostly unexplored territory, and in the mid-1980s Sir Barry led an expedition into the remote, nearly inaccessible jungle of northwest Belize to find the Gallon Jug Estate.
The original plan was to map the area. One of the men in the expedition, an old chiclero named Tenico, mentioned a long-forgotten camp named “Santa Maria,” which became the expedition’s first discovery.
Located next to a creek named Chan Chich (which means “little bird” in Maya) and surrounded by jungle-covered hillocks, after days of brush-clearing, it became clear they had discovered an undocumented archaeological site.
From this expedition, Gallon Jug Agroindustry (“GJA”) was born. GJA went on to experiment with many agricultural endeavours and found Chan Chich Lodge within the archaeological site to prevent site looting. Today GJA’s business ventures include; grass-fed cattle, shade growth bird-friendly coffee, Lissette’s family of sauces, and Chan Chich Lodge, a world-class wildlife and birding lodge.