Juan Serrallés Colón

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Juan Serrallés Colón
Juan Serralles Colon.jpg
Born Juan Eugenio Serrallés Colón
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Died 1921
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Occupation Businessman, Philanthropist, Industrialist
Spouse(s) Mercedes Perez
Children Mercedes M. Serrallés (1st daughter)
Julia Serrallés (2nd daughter)
Juan Eugenio Serrallés (1st son)
Jorge Juan Serrallés (2nd son)
Pedro Juan Serrallés (3rd son)
Parent(s) Sabastian Serrallés (father)
Juana Colón (mother)

Juan Eugenio Serrallés Colón[note 1] (1836[1]–1921) was the founder of Hacienda Mercedita in Ponce, Puerto Rico and what was to become Destileria Serralles, producers of "Don Q", a brand of Puerto Rican rum.

Family and early years[edit]

Juan Serrallés Colón, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, was the son of Sebastian Serrallés, a wealthy Spaniard from Catalonia who settled in Ponce in the early 19th century and went into the sugarcane business, and Juana Colon. Serrallés Colón was the owner of "Hacienda Mercedita" as well as the neighboring Hacienda Fe and Hacienda Laurel.[2][3]

Juan Serrallés was raised in Ponce and educated in Spain. When Juan Serrallés returned to the island, he returned to lead the work in his hacienda (plantation).[4]

"Don Q" rum[edit]

In 1865, Juan imported a still which he purchased in France and produced his first few casks of rum. He named the rum Don Q in honor of the legendary Spanish fictional character Don Quixote. Soon after, the "Don Q" brand of rum became very popular in Puerto Rico and the family business began to grow.[5]

In 1903 the Serrallés family, under the leadership of Juan Serrallés, installed the first continuous still in Puerto Rico. Juan Serrallés died in 1921 just as the production of rum was being halted because of the United States Prohibition Act of the 1920s. Juan's family continued to run the sugar side of the business but for the destillery side started to produce medical alcohol instead of the outlawed rum. It was called Alcoholado Superior 70.

Personal life[edit]

The Serralles Castle, built by Juan's son, Juan Eugenio Serralles Perez in the 1930s

Juan Serrallés Colón married Mercedes Perez (1845–1922), after whom he named his sugar plantation.[6] They had three sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Juan Eugenio Serrallés, became the head of the Serrallés family business after Juan died in 1921. Juan's grandchildren — via Juan Eugenio's marriage to Rosa Maria Sanchez — were Rosa, Juan Eugenio, and Felix Juan.

Juan Eugenio built a huge castle in Ponce, called the Serralles Castle, for his three children some ten years after his father's death, a testament to the prosperity of the plantation business that Juan Serrallés had started the previous century. Eventually one of these grandchildren, Felix Juan, became the next in line to run the sugar plantation and rum distillery businesses, which he did until his death in 1985.


The sugarcane business ceased to operate in 1994, with only the rum destillery that Juan had spearheaded decades before still operating. Today, Juan Serrallés Colón's great-grandson, Felix Juan Serrallés, Jr., presides over Destileria Serralles, Inc.


The Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has honored the memory of Juan Serrallés Colon by naming both a grade school and a high school[7] in Ponce after him. There is also an intermediate school named after his wife Mercedes.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Serrallés and the second or maternal family name is Colón.


  1. ^ Hacienda Mercedita Foundry, Barrio Sabanestas(sic), Municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico: Photographs, Written Historical and Descriptive Data. Benjamin Nistal-Moret, Hector Sanchez and Jean Yearby. Historic American Engineering Record. HAER Number PR-8. U. S. National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C. 20240. 1984. Accessed 18 April 2017.
  2. ^ Our Story: Destileria Serralles
  3. ^ Hacienda Mercedita: Foundry Barrio Sabanestas, Municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico
  4. ^ Rum: The Epic Story Of The Drink That Conquered The World. Charles A. Coulombe. Citadel Books. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp. Page 99. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  5. ^ A Spirited Tradition. Chase Lindsey. University of Oklahoma. Gaylord College of Journalism. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  6. ^ Serrallés Family. Genealogy Incorporated. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  7. ^ Crece el número de Héroes en Ponce. Reinaldo Millán. La Perla del Sur. 12 February 2014. p.6.
  8. ^ Martínez Rivera - Landrón Family Tree. Family Tree Maker. Retrieved 26 December 2011.

External links[edit]