It’s hard to find a bar anywhere in the world that doesn’t offer a Bacardí Rum & Coke. Roughly 6 million of them are served every day. Yes, you read that right, 6 million every day!
If you add to that figure the number of Daiquiris made (the drink’s original recipe, which was created by thirsty mining engineer Jennings Cox in 1898, called for the spirit), you’ll understand how the brand became the most well-known rum around the globe.
While Bacardí is seemingly ubiquitous, the company was founded in Cuba by Don Facundo Bacardí Massó on February 4, 1862. But the family was ultimately forced to leave the country in 1960 after the Revolution and subsequent seizure of its original distillery.
You can find the brand’s main distillery and home in exile in Cataño, Puerto Rico, which is right across the bay from historic Old San Juan.
While the rum is, of course, now made on a different island, it is still owned by the Bacardí family, which ensures a continuation of Facundo’s legacy of quality and innovation. Read on to go behind the scenes at the company’s distillery in Puerto Rico. Cheers!
The first step in making BACARDI Rum is the responsible sourcing of sugarcane-based molasses. This is done by working with sugar producers that adhere to the Bonsucro guidlines.
One of the reasons why BACARDI’s rums taste different than other brands is that they are made with a proprietary yeast strain that dates back to the 1860s. The Bacardí family story states that Don Facundo discovered the yeast in the sugarcane fields of Santiago de Cuba.
The Bacardí bat logo is almost as famous as the rum. But where did it come from? Well, according to lore, fruit bats lived in the aging warehouses of the original distillery in Cuba, where the animals are supposedly lucky.
Since 1958, Bacardí has made most of its rum in Cataño, Puerto Rico, at what is called the “Cathedral of Rum.” The art deco building is a local monument and one of the island’s most famous structures. It is also the world’s largest premium rum distillery.
Aging rum in the Caribbean is very different than, say, aging it in Scotland or Kentucky. Given the year-round tropical climate, the rum matures roughly two to three times as quick, which means you need to be very careful it doesn’t pick up too much flavor from the American oak barrels.
Bacardí isn’t only the most renowned rum brand in the world, but since its founding 157 years ago has won a staggering 750 different awards and medals.