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Many of us consider rum to be a pirate drink. And to make his dream come true, Facundo begins to save on literally everything.
In 1843 Don Bacardi founded his own company, Facundo Bacardi y Cia. She sells alcohol. But things did not get better right away - on August 21, 1852, there was a terrible earthquake. Half of the city was destroyed, and every tenth inhabitant died from the outbreak of cholera epidemic. Among the victims were two of Facundo's children. Then the businessman made an important decision to move his family to Spain. When Bacardi returned to Cuba, he found that his store was simply ransacked. The Spaniard simply did not have the strength and funds to restore the business, as a result, his company simply went bankrupt. After such a failure, Don Facundo could only return again to his brother Jose, who was able to keep his business. However, the problems that deprived Facundo of his family and business only hardened his character and made him look for new opportunities.
In those days, rum was a rather rough and unprocessed drink. He was sharp and burned, for which the Caribbean pirates loved him in their time. For the nobility, this drink was not of interest, which is why it was not found at social parties. Bacardi decided to change this situation and create a new, more civilized drink. He devotes all his free time to experiments in distilling rum at home, using different enzymes and raw materials.
Soon Bacardi came up with a new technology for the production of rum, which had not been used by anyone before. He began to soften this rough drink by passing it through a charcoal filter. Thus, it became possible to remove impurities. Then the rum was aged in an oak barrel, picking up its blend. Like a real scientist-experimenter, Facundo keeps his own journal of work, evaluating all the results of the work carried out. A lot of trial and error ended up yielding the desired result - a product that met all Bacardi's expectations and standards.
His rums were both softer and lighter in color compared to local competitors. Those were so strong and heavy that they looked more like medicine. Surprisingly light rum from don Facundo, thanks to its aging and aroma, not only differed from other varieties of rum, but did not resemble any other alcoholic drink at all.
Bacardi wanted to present his discovery on the alcohol market as soon as possible. To do this, the brothers Facundo and Jose bought a small liquor factory from John Nan, paying 3,500 pesos for it. This opened a new page in the history of Bacardi. On February 4, 1862, Bacardi y Compania was officially registered. She quickly won over clients and influential fans. Rum Bacardi fell in love with gourmets, monarchs and just independent people. This drink has shaped a new understanding of the drink, changing the attitude towards it. Don Facundo has created a new type of rum - Bacardi carta blanca. The very first samples had such an original and mint taste that today they are a yardstick for other rums.
Soon Bacardi realized that his products needed a recognizable trademark. This is how the famous bat appeared. According to legend, it was this beast that Don Facundo's wife, Dona Amalia Lucia Victoria Moro, saw when she visited his first Cuban factory. But in Catalonia there is a sign that bats symbolize wealth, luck, health and family happiness. Since 1862, rum began to come out with its own brand name. It, together with the right distribution, allowed the brand to quickly become popular in Cuba. The island quickly learned about the new, well-aged and soft rum. In addition, the brand name helped, as if endowing the drink with magical powers.
Another iconic symbol of the company is a coconut tree planted near the very first Bacardi plant. This tree became practically the same age as the company, Facundo himself considered it a relic. Before his death, the founder of the brand bequeathed to his heirs not to cut down the palm tree in any way, but to care for it. The request was heard - although production was constantly growing, new buildings appeared, the sons of Bacardi looked after the iconic tree.
In 1877, the company had a new leader. Now it is headed by Facundo Bacardi's son, Emilio. He was actively involved in politics, supporting the local nationalist, the fighter against the Spaniards, Jose Marti. For this, Emilio Bacardi even went to exile twice. And in 1898, Cuba became independent, in no small part thanks to the assistance of the Bacardi company. Emilio himself becomes first the mayor of Santiago, and in 1906, the senator of the republic.
The popularity of the drink is growing with the advent of the Cuba libre cocktail. At the end of the 19th century, in the midst of the islanders' struggle for their independence, American soldiers landed on the island to help its neighbors. One of the military ordered a mixture of Bacardi rum with Coca-Cola from a bar in Havana, to which he also added ice and a slice of lemon. The brave captain drank his drink with such delight that it did not go unnoticed by the visitors. The bartender began to order the same, a mixture of rum and Coca-Cola became the highlight of the evening. As a result, one of the soldiers offered a toast to Free Cuba "Por Cuba Libre!" The crowd picked up the slogan that gave the name to the new cocktail. It quickly became popular in Cuba. And although both ingredients are distributed in their own way, the cocktail has earned worldwide recognition.
In 1920, the United States introduced "dry law". Such a measure for rum Cuba turned out to be very useful. And the Bacardi company itself received an impulse for development. Indeed, in those years, many Americans came to the island to relax and unwind with a glass of their favorite Cuba Libre cocktail. In 1927, the company organized the first regatta in its honor. It was one of the first and brightest marketing moves that helped promote the brand. Since then, sailing races have been held every year.
Family legends say that in the mid-1950s, the famous palm tree began to die. This was a sign that the company was facing difficulties. But until then, the rum brand was actively developing. Political stability on the island came to an end - the pro-American course of the government caused more and more dissatisfaction. There was a split in the family itself - some descendants of don Facundo supported Castro, and others - Batista. On the eve of the revolution in Cuba, the Bacardi family decided to leave the island, and the famous tree soon died. But since then, it has been customary for the company to plant coconut trees around each office or workshop. In 1959, the company was re-registered in the Bahamas. On October 14, 1960, a new, revolutionary government confiscated all the assets of the wealthy Bacardi family. It lost about $ 76 million that day. Members of the clan were forced to emigrate to the United States.
The new government, having confiscated rum factories, began to produce a drink there, passing it off as a real Bacardi. But the owners did not know that secret formulas were used in the production. Then the Bacardi family filed a lawsuit defending their rights to the brand, this dispute was won. The counterfeit rum was withdrawn from the sale, and the rights to the company and the trademark were returned to the historical owners. The company soon floated 10% of its shares on the stock exchange to somehow compensate for its losses.
By the late 1970s, Bacardi rum became the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States. However, the success and worldwide recognition of the company does not bring its former unity within itself. In 1977, several members of the clan sold their stakes (only about 12%) to the Canadian whiskey manufacturer Hiram Walker. In 1980, internal strife forced management to buy out all shares from holders, including from third-party companies. In 1983, the Bacardi distillery produced a 200 millionth case of rum. And after some time, the company acquired the world's largest wine producer Martini & Rossi. In 1996, in the Bacardi-Martini alliance, for the first time, a non-Bacardi family member took over. Lawyer George Reid showed himself excellently already in 1997, when the rights to Havana Club rum were bought.
The fact is that the Cuban government believed that the brand was considered national property. The Bacardi family found themselves an influential ally in the person of the French from Pernod Ricard, who were promised the exclusive right to sell the Havana Club. During the brand war, the Cuban authorities unleashed their entire propaganda machine on Bacardi-Martini. The concern was accused of supporting the US anti-Cuban policy, preparing the assassination of Fidel Castro, and violating intellectual property rights. Although the company was unable to defend the rights to global sales of Havana Club, the American market was recaptured. In 1998, the company's portfolio included several more well-known brands - Dewars whiskey, DiSaronno amaretto, Bombay gin.
A museum has appeared in Puerto Rico, whose name translates as "House of Bacardi". The exposition features several dozen rare exhibits from depositories and private collections. And in one of the rooms, advertising videos of rum, sent from different countries, are playing non-stop. Today, an elite alcoholic drink is produced by the Bacardi family in accordance with the original family recipes dating back to 1862. Rum is produced and bottled in factories in India, Mexico, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Panama and Trinidad.