This is a complicated topic, but we may have mischaracterized some of Arroyo’s ideas on maturation. Lots of people were making continuous column still rum well before Arroyo came along. His contribution to their dominance may have just been adding centrifugation to keep the stills from encrusting with junk and shutting down.
When Arroyo claimed he could make distillates that matured faster he was likely talking about the full flavored batch still variety. I think his concept was that if you capture noble volatile acidity (by distilling at a really low proof) and thus start with a low pH (basically a tart distillate) the reactions in the barrel will start faster. They won’t have to wait for the wood to break down and drop the pH.
On top of this, he helped tackle the “tufo” problem because sometimes the old pot still stuff stank. It kind of seems like many of his methods would have helped the batch production rums ascend in viability, but that didn’t seem to happen.
Arroyo doesn’t really seem to have made much of a contribution because most of his ideas were never realized. The time to use it all is now. A lot of what we project on Arroyo came from the Rum Pilot Plant a generation later. The intriguing stuff never really happened.
We also assume everything happened because of a competitive market, but there may have been a lot of anti competitive behavior at play.