|Founded||Ponce, Puerto Rico (1865)|
|Headquarters||Ponce, Puerto Rico|
|Key people||Felix Juan Serrallés, Jr. President and CEO|
|Products||Rum, vodka, medicinal alcohol|
|Revenue||$114.24 M USD|
|Employees||375, over 600 on payroll|
Destilería Serrallés is a rum producer located in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and best known for its Don Q rum brand. The company has revenues of over 100 million dollars. It is responsible for pumping over $120 million annually into the Puerto Rican economy from the sale of its rums in the United States mainland alone.
The history of Destilería Serrallés is the history of the Serrallés family. The Serrallés family was a Spanish family from Cataluña that established its links to Puerto Rico in the mid-1830s. They were successful in harvesting and refining cane sugar and exporting it to the United States, the United Kingdom and France. The sugar cane plantation they built virtually became a company town, and eventually had its own rail line, workers' housing, transportation fleet, commissary, and private—later public—airport (Ponce's Mercedita Airport). Most of these operations were eventually annexed to the municipality of Ponce, in whose lands the plantation is based. Sugar cane molasses imported from the Dominican Republic is still transformed into rum to this day at the same Serralles distilling facility that has been used for over a century.
In 1865, the family opened a rum manufacturing facility at their plantation, the "Hacienda Mercedita", named in honor of the Serrallés family matriarch, Mercedes Perez. On that year, Juan Serralles Colon, who would go down as one of the most successful liquor salesmen in Puerto Rican history, imported a still from France, which enabled him to produce his first casks of rum.
The Serrallés operation produced various local rum brands, most of which were short-lived. Inspired by the success of other rum producers in the island, the family launched a refined brand with the intention of exporting it elsewhere. The Ron Don Q brand was launched in 1932, and became popular with locals who considered rival Bacardi either harsher in taste or a foreign brand (Bacardí opened its distilling operations in Puerto Rico in the early 1930s, and at the time it was considered a Cuban brand, since its headquarters were based in Santiago de Cuba). By the 1960s, Ron Don Q was available in most of Puerto Rico's important supermarket chains, such as Pueblo and others. It also became available at Amigo. In addition to rum, the distillery also produces medicinal alcohol, plus wine, vodka, and Don Juan.
Acquisition of Puerto Rican Distillers
In 1985, Serrallés, Inc., under the leadership of Felix Juan Serrallés, Sr., purchased Puerto Rican Distillers, Inc., from the Canadian liquor giant Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, LTD. The Company grew rapidly when it bought Puerto Rico Destillers in 1985. This acquisition increased the company’s product line to include Palo Viejo, Ron Llave and Granado, and doubled the firm’s sales. The acquisitions included manufacturing facilities in Camuy and Arecibo plus the brand names sold by Seagrams locally such as: "Palo Viejo", "Ron Llave" and "Granado". Serrallés also purchased the rights to produce and distribute the brands of "Ronrico" and "Captain Morgan" in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean. These same brands, now produced by Serrallés, are distributed in the United States by Seagrams. Captain Morgan rum is the second largest selling rum in the world after "Bacardi". As a result, Serrallés, Inc., more than doubled its sales.
Ron Don Q is the best-selling rum in Puerto Rico, ahead of Bacardi and Captain Morgan. The Captain Morgan Rum brand is owned by Diageo PLC but made by Destilería Serrallés in a different Puerto Rican distillery under a supply contract. Recently Diageo's Captain Morgan contract with Serrallés was not renewed, as Diageo's moved its production of Captain Morgan to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Promotion of Don Q
Ron Don Q has also been engaged in numerous advertising campaigns. Television ads have run on Puerto Rican channels for decades, and the brand has sponsored local sports teams, such as baseball's Leones de Ponce and their BSN basketball counterpart the basketball Leones. The Serrallés distillery is also involved in the Copa Serralles boat race, where Ron Don Q is prominently advertised. Don Q also has appeared on a number of films. Also, Ron Don Q is available in small bottle samples at supermarkets, pharmacies and liquor stores. Proof66.com, an aggregator of liquor ratings from various experts, places the Don Q anejo in the Top 10th percentile of all rums.
The company's current president and CEO is Felix Juan Serrallés, Jr., Juan Serrallés great-grandson. The company currently produces over 60% of the rum sold in Puerto Rico. In 1998, the annual sales of Serrallés. Inc. surpassed $100 million. The company has become a large industrial and marketing enterprise that produces and distributes over 80 different product lines worldwide.
- Mayita pide trato igual para Destilería Serrallés. El Sur a la Vista. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
- Peligra estabilidad de Destilería Serrallés. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- Con éxodo de Diageo: Ante reto crucial la Destilería Serrallés. Jason Rodríguez and Omar Alfonso. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
- Sugar cane Molasses now coming from the D.R.
- The House that Rum Built. Adventure Guide to Puerto Rico Fourth Edition. By Kurt Pitzer and Tara Stevens. Edison, NJ: Hunter Publishing Inc. 2001. ISBN 1-58843-116-9. Page 229. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
- 2003 Industrial Symbiosis in Rum Production. International Society for Industrial Ecology. Page 3.
- Rum: The Epic Story Of The Drink That Conquered The World. Charles A. Coulombe. New York: Kensington Publishing Company. 2004. Page 99. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- DonQ awarded 5 stars. Puerto Rico Daily Sun. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- Proof66.com Summary Page for Don Q anejo
- Felix Juan Serrallés, Jr.
- Destileria Serralles
- Family Business magazine