Bacardi was the first and most well known rum sold worldwide in the modern era. Though it is no longer manufactured in Cuba, a history of Cuban rum would be incomplete without it. Bacardi limited is currently one of the most famous spirits brands in the world and it is among the largest family owned, privately held spirits companies.
The brand was made famous by their Bacardi white rum. Don Facundo Bacardi Masso, a Spanish wine merchant born in Spain, emigrated to Cuba in 1830. In those days, rum was not a refined drink, and often made with low standards for local consumption. It was Facundo who began systematising the process.
Creating a proprietary strain of yeast to make the base product from which the rum is distilled.
Facundo was also credited with ageing rum in white oak barrels to mellow the final product. This is how he manufactured the first clear, or white rum in the world.
Facundo and his brother Jose, first established the distillery in Santiago the Cuba in 1862. Bats soon made their home in the far recesses of the factory , and the instantly recognisable bat logo was born.
Emilio Bacardi, Facundo’s eldest son, was appointed Mayor of Santiago the Cuba in 1899 by the U.S general Leonard Wood, after the Cuban war from independence from Spain during the turn of the last century. Emilio had been a leader in the Free Cuba movement.
However, after the Castro Revolution the Bacardi family fled, and ever since Bacardi rum has been made elsewhere. However, the label still states: “Company founded in Santiago de Cuba in 1862”. The most famous symbol of rum’s rise in Cuba is the Bacardi Building, which is still considered one of the crowning achievements in Cuban architecture.
As the company became more international in scope, with offices around the world, a new main office befitting their world status was built in 1930, as the third generation entered the business.
The executives branded Cuba as the home of Rum, and Bacardi as the king of Rums. The headquarters, as it still stands today, became known as the Cathedral of Rum. The Bacardi Building in Havana is regarded as one of the finest Art Deco buildings in Latin America.