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Bacardi Limited
Founded4 February 1862
Santiago de Cuba
FounderDon Facundo Bacardí Massó
HeadquartersHamilton, Bermuda
Key people
Facundo L. Bacardi (Chairman)
Mahesh Madhavan (CEO)
ProductsBacardi rum, Grey Goose vodka, Patrón Tequila, Dewar's Blended Scotch whisky, Bombay Sapphire gin, Martini & Rossi vermouth and sparkling wines, Eristoff vodka, Cazadores blue agave tequila, Angel's Envy Bourbon and more
The original Bacardi distillery in Santiago de Cuba.
Bacardi Rum
The Bacardi Building in Havana was constructed by the company in 1930 but abandoned when the company fled Cuba following the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
The "Cathedral of Rum" at the Bacardi distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico, near San Juan

Bacardi Limited (/bəˈkɑːrdi/; Spanish: [bakaɾˈði]) is one of the largest privately held, family-owned spirits companies in the world.[1] Originally known for its Bacardi brand of white rum, it now has a portfolio of more than 200 brands and labels.[2] Founded in Cuba in 1862 and family-owned for seven generations, Bacardi Limited employs more than 7,000 people with sales in approximately 170 countries. Bacardi Limited is the group of companies as a whole and includes Bacardi International Limited.[3]

Bacardi Limited is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, and has a board of directors led by the original founder's great-great grandson, Facundo L. Bacardí, the chairman of the board.[4]


Early history[edit]

Facundo Bacardí Massó, a Spanish wine merchant, was born in Sitges, Catalonia, Spain, in 1814, and emigrated to Santiago, Cuba in 1830. At the time, rum was cheaply made and not considered a refined drink, and rarely sold in upmarket taverns or purchased by the growing emerging middle class on the island.[5] Facundo began attempting to "tame" rum by isolating a proprietary strain of yeast harvested from local sugar cane still used in Bacardi production today. This yeast gives Bacardi rum its flavour profile. After experimenting with several techniques for close to ten years, Facundo pioneered charcoal rum filtration, which removed impurities from his rum. Facundo then created two separate distillates that he could blend together, balancing a variety of flavors: Aguardiente (a robust, flavorful distillate) and Redestillado (a refined, delicate distillate). Once Facundo achieved the perfect balance of flavors by marrying the two distillates together, he purposefully aged the rum in white oak barrels to develop subtle flavors and characteristics while mellowing out those that were unwanted. The final product was the first clear, light-bodied and mixable "white" rum in the world.[6]

Moving from the experimental stage to a more commercial endeavour as local sales began to grow, Facundo and his brother José purchased a Santiago de Cuba distillery on February 4, 1862, which housed a still made of copper and cast iron. In the rafters of this building lived fruit bats – the inspiration for the Bacardi bat logo.[7] It was the idea of Doña Amalia, Facundo's wife, to adopt the bat to the rum bottle when she recognized its symbolism of family unity, good health, and good fortune to her husband's homeland of Spain. This logo was pragmatic considering the high illiteracy rate in the 19th century, enabling customers to easily identify the product.[8]

The 1880s and 1890s were turbulent times for Cuba and the company. Emilio Bacardí, Don Facundo's eldest son, known for his forward thinking in both his professional and personal life and a passionate advocate for Cuban Independence was imprisoned twice for having fought in the rebel army against Spain in the Cuban War of Independence.[9]

Emilio's brothers, Facundo and José, and their brother-in-law Enrique 'Henri' Schueg, remained in Cuba with the difficult task of sustaining the company during a period of war. With Don Facundo's passing in 1886, Doña Amalia sought refuge by exile in Kingston, Jamaica. At the end of the Cuban War of Independence during the US occupation of Cuba, "The Original Cuba Libre" and the Daiquiri cocktails were both created, with the then Cuban based Bacardi rum.[10] In 1899, Emilio Bacardí became the first democratically elected mayor of Santiago, appointed US General Leonard Wood.

During his time in public office, Emilio established schools and hospitals, completed municipal projects such as the famous Padre Pico Street and the Bacardi Dam, financed the creation of parks, and decorated the city of Santiago with monuments and sculptures.[9] In 1912, Emilio and his wife travelled to Egypt, where he purchased a mummy (still on display) for the future Emilio Bacardi Moreau Municipal Museum in Santiago de Cuba.[11] In Santiago, his brother Facundo M. Bacardí continued to manage the company along with Schueg, who began the company's international expansion by opening bottling plants in Barcelona (1910) and New York City (1916).[12] The New York plant was soon shut down due to Prohibition, yet during this time Cuba became a hotspot for US tourists, kicking off a period of rapid growth for the Bacardi company and the onset of cocktail culture in America.[13]

In 1922 the family completed the expansion and renovation of the original distillery in Santiago, increasing the sites rum production capacity. In 1930 Schueg oversaw the construction and opening of Edificio Bacardí in Havana, regarded as one of the finest Art Deco buildings in Latin America, as the third generation of the Bacardí family entered the business. In 1927, Bacardi ventured outside the realm of spirits for the first time, with the introduction of an authentic Cuban Malt beer: Hatuey beer.

Bacardi's success in transitioning into an international brand and company was due mostly to Schueg, who branded Cuba as "The home of rum", and Bacardi as "The king of rums and the rum of Kings". Expansion began overseas, first to Mexico in 1931 where it had architects Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and Felix Candela design office buildings and a bottling plant in Mexico City during the 1950s. The building complex was added to the tentative list of UNESCO's World Heritage Site list on 20 November 2001.[14] In 1936, Bacardi began producing rum on U.S. territory in Puerto Rico after Prohibition which enabled the company to sell rum tariff-free in the United States.[15] The company later expanded to the United States in 1944 with the opening of Bacardi Imports, Inc. in Manhattan, New York City.[16]

During World War II, the company was led by Schueg's son-in-law, José "Pepin" Bosch. Pepin founded Bacardi Imports in New York City, and became Cuba's Minister of the Treasury in 1949.

Cuban Revolution[edit]

During the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the Bacardí family (and hence the company) supported and aided the rebels.[17] However, after the triumph of the revolutionaries, and turn to Communism, the family maintained a fierce opposition to Fidel Castro's policies in Cuba in the 1960s. In his book, Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba, Tom Gjelten describes how the Bacardí family and the company left Cuba in exile after the Cuban government confiscated the company's Cuban assets without compensation on 14 October 1960, particularly nationalizing and banning all private property on the island as well as all bank accounts.[18] However, due to concerns over the previous Cuban leader, Fulgencio Batista, the company had started foreign branches a few years before the revolution; the company moved the ownership of its trademarks, assets and proprietary formulas out of the country to the Bahamas prior to the revolution and already produced Bacardi rum at other distillery sites in Puerto Rico and Mexico. This helped the company survive after the Cuban government confiscated all Bacardí assets in the country without any compensation.[19]

In 1965, over 100 years after the company was established in Cuba, Bacardi established new roots and found a new home with global headquarters in Hamilton, Bermuda. In February 2019, Bacardi's CEO, Mahesh Madhavan, stated that Bacardí's global headquarters would remain in Bermuda for the next "500 years" and that "Bermuda is our home now."[20]

Bacardi Building, Bermuda. Location of Bacardi's world headquarters

In 1999, Otto Reich, a lobbyist in Washington on behalf of Bacardí, drafted section 211 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Appropriations Act, FY1999, a bill that became known as the Bacardi Act. Section 211 denied trademark protection to products of Cuban businesses expropriated after the Cuban revolution, a provision sought by Bacardí. The act was aimed primarily at the Havana Club brand in the United States. The brand was created by the José Arechabala S.A. and nationalised without compensation in the Cuban revolution, the Arechabala family left Cuba and stopped producing rum. They therefore allowed the US trademark registration for "Havana Club" to lapse in 1973. Taking advantage of the lapse, the Cuban government registered the mark in the United States in 1976.[21][22] This new law was drafted to invalidate the trademark registration. Section 211 has been challenged unsuccessfully by the Cuban government and the European Union in US courts. It was ruled illegal by the WTO in 2001 and 2002.[23] The US Congress has yet to re-examine the matter. The brand was assigned by the Cuban government to Pernod Ricard in 1993.

Bacardi rekindled the story of the Arechabala family and Havana Club in the United States when it launched the AMPARO Experience in 2018, an immersive play experience based in Miami, the city with the highest population of Cuban exiles. AMPARO “is the story of the family’s entire history being erased and their heritage ‘stolen’” according to playwright Vanessa Garcia.[24]

Bacardi and Cuba today[edit]

Bacardi drinks are not easily found in Cuba today. The main brand of rum in Cuba is Havana Club, produced by a company that was confiscated and nationalized by the government following the revolution. Bacardi later bought the brand from the original owners, the Arechabala family. The Cuban government, in partnership with the French company Pernod Ricard, sells its Havana Club products internationally, except in the United States and its territories. Bacardi created the Real Havana Club rum based on the original recipe from the Arechabala family, manufactures it in Puerto Rico, and sells it in the United States. Bacardi continues to fight in the courts, attempting to legalize their own Havana Club trademark outside the United States.[25]

Bacardi Bat in the Bacardi Building in Cataño, Puerto Rico


Bacardi Limited has made numerous acquisitions to diversify away from the eponymous Bacardi rum brand. In 1993, Bacardi merged with Martini & Rossi, the Italian producer of Martini vermouth and sparkling wines, creating the Bacardi-Martini group.

In 1998, the company acquired Dewar's scotch, including Royal Brackla and Bombay Sapphire gin from Diageo for $2 billion. Bacardi acquired the Cazadores tequila brand in 2002 and in 2004 purchased Grey Goose, a French-made vodka, from Sidney Frank for $2 billion. In 2006 Bacardi Limited purchased New Zealand vodka brand 42 Below. In 2018, Bacardi Limited purchased tequila manufacturer Patrón for $5.1 billion.[26]

Other associated brands include the Real Havana Club, Drambuie Scotch whisky liqueur, DiSaronno Amaretto, Eristoff vodka, Cazadores Tequila, B&B and Bénédictine liqueurs.


Since the creation of the rum brand in 1862, Bacardi remains the world's most awarded rum, with hundreds of medals awarded for quality and taste.[29] Emblems of gold medals and the Spanish Coat of Arms awarded during the formative years of the business appear on the bottle.

Bacardi rums have been entered for a number of international spirit ratings awards. Several Bacardi spirits have performed notably well.[30][31][32][33] In 2020, Bacardi Superior, Bacardi Gold, Bacardi Black, Bacardi Añejo Cuatro were each awarded a gold medal by the International Quality Institute Monde Selection. In addition, both Bacardi Reserva Ocho and Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez were awarded the top honor of Grand Gold quality award.[34]

Hemingway connection[edit]

Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba from 1939 until shortly after the Cuban Revolution. He lived at Finca Vigía, in the small town of San Francisco de Paula, located very close to Bacardi's Modelo Brewery for Hatuey Beer in Cotorro, Havana.

In 1954, Compañía Ron Bacardi S.A. threw Hemingway a party when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature – soon after the publication of his novel The Old Man and the Sea (1952) – in which he honored the company by mentioning its Hatuey beer. Hemingway also mentioned Bacardi and Hatuey in his novels To Have and Have Not (1937) and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Guillermo Cabrera Infante wrote an account of the festivities for the periodical Ciclón, titled "El Viejo y la Marca" ("The Old Man and the Brand", a play on "El Viejo y el Mar", the book's Spanish title). In his account he described how "on one side there was a wooden stage with two streamers – Hatuey beer and Bacardi rum – on each end and a Cuban flag in the middle. Next to the stage was a bar, at which people crowded, ordering daiquiris and beer, all free.”[35] A sign at the event read "Bacardi rum welcomes the author of The Old Man and the Sea".

In his article "The Old Man and the Daiquiri", Wayne Curtis writes about how Hemingway's "home bar also held a bottle of Bacardi rum". Hemingway wrote in Islands in the Stream, "...this frozen daiquirí, so well beaten as it is, looks like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots."[36]

Bacardi in the United States[edit]

Bacardi's former U.S. headquarters in Miami. In 2006, the company moved to Coral Gables, Florida.

In 1964, Bacardi opened new US offices in Miami, Florida. Exiled Cuban architect Enrique Gutierrez created a building that was hurricane-proof, using a system of steel cables and pulleys which allow the building to move slightly in the event of a strong shock. The steel cables are anchored into the bedrock and extend through marble-covered shafts up to the top floor, where they are led over large pulleys. Outside, on both sides of the eight-story building, more than 28,000 tiles painted and fired by Brazilian artist Francisco Brennand, depicting abstract blue flowers, were placed on the walls according to the artist's exact specifications.

In 1973, the company commissioned the square building in the plaza. Architect Ignacio Carrera-Justiz used cantilevered construction, a style invented by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright observed how well trees with taproots withstood hurricane-force winds. The building, raised 47 feet off the ground around a central core, features four massive walls, made of sections of inch-thick hammered glass mural tapestries, designed and manufactured in France. The striking design of the annex, affectionately known as the 'Jewel Box' building,[37] came from a painting by German artist Johannes M. Dietz.

In 2006, Bacardi USA leased a 15-story headquarters complex in Coral Gables, Florida. Bacardi had employees in seven buildings across Miami-Dade County at the time.[38]

Bacardi vacated its former headquarters buildings on Biscayne Boulevard in Midtown Miami. The building currently serves as the headquarters of the National YoungArts Foundation. Miami citizens began a campaign to label the buildings as "historic". The Bacardi Buildings Complex has been a locally protected historic resource since Oct. 6, 2009, when it was designated by unanimous decision by the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board.[39]

In 2007 Chad Oppenheim, the head of Oppenheim Architecture + Design, described the Bacardi buildings as "elegant, with a Modernist [look combined with] a local flavour."[40] In April 2009, University of Miami professor of architecture Allan Schulman said "Miami's brand is its identity as a tropical city. The Bacardi buildings are exactly the sort that resonate with our consciousness of what Miami is about."[41]

The current American headquarters is in Coral Gables, Florida.[42] The 300 employees occupy 230,000 square feet (21,000 m2) of leased office space.[43]


  1. ^ "Top 8 family-owned spirits companies". September 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  2. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross (21 June 2004). "Bacardi to Buy Grey Goose, Stirring More Talk of I.P.O.". New York Times.
  3. ^ "Bacardi Limited". website. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Facundo L. Bacardi has been Chairman of the Board of Bacardi Limited since 2005 and a director since 1993. He is the great-great grandson of Company founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó and a fifth-generation family member". Bacardi Limited. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  5. ^ "More Than a Rum 'War'", Bacardi, Pluto Press, pp. 81–90, 2015, doi:10.2307/j.ctt18mvnpg.17, ISBN 978-1-78371-894-8
  6. ^ "FRP tanks still going strong after 23 years". Reinforced Plastics. 50 (10): 4. November 2006. doi:10.1016/s0034-3617(06)71130-4. ISSN 0034-3617.
  7. ^ Our heritage: the early years from the company's corporate website
  8. ^ Bacardi and the bat: All Bacardi rum supplied to U.S. bottled in Jacksonville Jax Daily Record, 3 January 2012
  9. ^ a b Gjelten, Tom (2008). Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780670019786.
  10. ^ "Daiquiri". Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
  11. ^ Coulombe, Charles A. Rum. Citadel Press.
  12. ^ Bacardi Limited: Our Heritage – Havana and Beyond. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  13. ^ Duggleby, R. G.; Kaplan, H. (18 November 1975). "A competitive labeling method for the determination of the chemical properties of solitary functional groups in proteins". Biochemistry. 14 (23): 5168–5175. doi:10.1021/bi00694a023. ISSN 0006-2960. PMID 42.
  14. ^ "Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and Felix Candela's Industrial Buildings – UNESCO World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  15. ^ Rum and Revolution an August 2008 review of Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba (ISBN 978-0-670-01978-6) from The Washington Post
  16. ^ "Bacardi Limited: Our Heritage – Prohibition and Innovation". Bacardi. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  17. ^ Guy, Jack. "Cuba and Bacardi: A Complicated History". Culture Trip. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  18. ^ Gjelten, Tom (4 September 2008). Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba: The Biography of a Cause.
  19. ^ Ospina, Hernando Calvo (2002). Bacardi: The Hidden War. Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0745318738.
  20. ^ "Bacardi wants to be in Bermuda for centuries". Royal Gazette. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  21. ^ Whitefield, Mimi (20 July 2012). "Havana Club rum dispute isn't over yet". Miami Herald. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  22. ^ Bardach, Ann Louise (2002). Cuba Confidential. Penguin Books. p. 131.
  23. ^ "Dispute Settlement Body adopts reports on the "Havana Club" case". WTO NEWS. 1 February 2002. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  24. ^ McPhie, P. (2 December 1975). "The origin of the alkaline inactivation of pepsinogen". Biochemistry. 14 (24): 5253–5256. doi:10.1021/bi00695a003. ISSN 0006-2960. PMID 44.
  25. ^ Caribbean Business: Bacardi wins round in Havana Club fight Archived 9 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  26. ^ "Bacardi to buy high-end tequila maker Patron in $5.1 billion deal". Reuters. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Bacardi Brand Portfolio - Bacardi Brands". Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  28. ^ "Bacardi targeted women with its new reduced-alcohol vodkas. It went over as well as you'd expect". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ "BACARDÍ Rum — The World's Most Awarded Spirit — Celebrates Top Accolade for Superior Taste and Quality - Bacardi Limited". Bacardi Limited. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  30. ^ "The International High Quality Trophy - 2010, Spirits & Liqueurs Selection". Monde Selection. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  31. ^ Proof66 Summary Page for Bacardi Reserva Limitada
  32. ^ "Proof66 Summary Page for Bacardi 1873 Ron Solera". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  33. ^ Proof66 Summary Page for Bacardi Ron Reserva 8-Year
  34. ^ Hodgson, E. K.; Fridovich, I. (2 December 1975). "The interaction of bovine erythrocyte superoxide dismutase with hydrogen peroxide: inactivation of the enzyme". Biochemistry. 14 (24): 5294–5299. doi:10.1021/bi00695a010. ISSN 0006-2960. PMID 49.
  35. ^ Cabrera Infante, Guillermo (1956). "El viejo y la marca". Ciclón.
  36. ^ Curtis, Wayne (October 2005). "The Old Man and the Daiquiri". The Atlantic.
  37. ^ Peterson, D. L.; Gleisner, J. M.; Blakley, R. L. (2 December 1975). "Bovine liver dihydrofolate reductase: purification and properties of the enzyme". Biochemistry. 14 (24): 5261–5267. doi:10.1021/bi00695a005. ISSN 0006-2960. PMID 45.
  38. ^ "Bacardi USA to take over BK's planned Coral Gables headquarters." South Florida Business Journal. Tuesday 8 May 2007. Retrieved on 2 October 2009.
  39. ^ Baccanari, D.; Phillips, A.; Smith, S.; Sinski, D.; Burchall, J. (2 December 1975). "Purification and properties of Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase". Biochemistry. 14 (24): 5267–5273. doi:10.1021/bi00695a006. ISSN 0006-2960. PMID 46.
  40. ^ Rousseau, Bryant. "In Conversation: Chad Oppenheim." Businessweek. 27 June 2007. 2. Retrieved on 3 October 2009.
  41. ^ "Miami weighs preserving iconic Bacardi buildings." Associated Press at New York Daily News. Tuesday 7 April 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  42. ^ "Bacardi USA Announces New Headquarters in South Florida." Retrieved 18 October 2010.
  43. ^ "Bacardi USA Marks Opening of State-of-the Art South Florida Headquarters." Retrieved 18 October 2010.

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