Bacardi

The Bacardí distillery is commonly known as Casa Bacardi – The Cathedral of Rum, situated in Catano, Puerto Rico. It is the largest rum distillery in the world. However, Bacardi as a brand was founded in Santiago de Cuba.       

To this day, Bacardi still uses the same proprietary strain of yeast which was used back in the 1860s.     

Bacardi's distillery complex with four continuous stills and staircases on the left standing against the blue sky
Continuous still at Bacardi's distillery complex

style

Bacardí rums have various characteristics created by the blending of two distillates. These are Aguardiente & Redistilado. Aguardiente has a high level of congeners and is responsible for the fruity, full-bodied flavours. Redistilado has a lower level of congeners, and has a much more subtle flavour, but has a much more refined, drier and light flavour profile.

Bacardi is well renowned for its variety in ranges. White rum such as Bacardi Carta Blanca is versatile in its use with both a mixer and in cocktails as it doesn't either dominate other flavours or fade into the background. Darker Rums such as Carta Oro and Gran Reserva Diez are fruity, dry yet sweet and flavoured by the oak casks through ageing. Their ranges also include flavoured rums, spiced rums and ready to drink cocktails in both cans and bottles.        

Collection of various fruits
A pile of almonds
Slices of Lime
Vanilla pods with flower head of vanilla plant

production

Bacardí is produced from sugar cane molasses. Which is imported from the surrounding Caribbean islands. Casa Bacardi houses twenty 50,000-gallon fermentation tanks, within which the rum goes through a 20 – 30 hour fermentation.

Bacardí houses two still systems. Each produces its own distillate: Aguardiente produced in a copper and cast iron still and Redistilado distilled through a five-part continuous stainless steel column.

The two distillates are then matured in Jacksonville, Florida, in charred white American oak ex-bourbon casks for a minimum of 1 year.

Bacardí rums are then also filtered through a special recipe of charcoal, which differs depending on the rum being bottled. Charcoal filtration is also responsible for taking away some of the colours the rum takes on from the charred oak casks.  

Casa Bacardí in Puerto Rico accounts for 85% of Bacardí’s rum production worldwide. They can produce 100,000 litres of rum each day. The remaining 15% is from distilleries in Mexico and India.

Bacardí is said to be used in the cocktail inventions: Daiquiri & Cuba Libre.     


history

Bacardí was founded in Santiago de Cuba by Facundo Masso. Masso grew up in Spain. He followed his two brothers to Santiago seeking their fortune. 

In 1838, Facundo met Boutellier who produced liquors from oranges in a property that he rented from Facundo’s wife Amalia. They began to experiment in rum production.

In 1862, Facundo and Boutellier purchased the distillery from John Nunes who was struggling after 20 years of business. A copper pot still and a cast-iron pot still were acquired. Production continued in both distilleries at this time.      

A historic picture of Bacardi's employees standing in front of the first Bacardi distillery
The first Bacardi distillery in Santiago de Cuba

Facundo’s wife Amalia noticed the fruit bats in the rafters of the distillery which is a symbol of health, family and fortune to the Spanish and Cuban Taíno Indians. The Bacardi symbol of the bat was instilled. 

By 1888, Bacardi’s popularity was growing quickly. It was appointed Purveyor of the Royal Spanish Household and won gold medals at Explosicion Universal de Barcelona.

In 1898, Jennings S. Cox invented the Daiquiri using Bacardi Superior as a cooling drink for his copper mining crews. This has boosted the name of Bacardi rums even further.

Bacardí began to expand further in 1910 with operations in Barcelona. This was the first time Bacardi was bottled outside of Cuba. The expansion soon spread to New York, the USA due to the demand in the country. However, it was closed in 1920 due to the prohibition.

In the 1930s, Bacardí opened new distilleries in Mexico and Puerto Rico, which are still the largest production facilities within the company.