The international beverage multinational has its origin in Cuba. The wine merchant Facundo Bacardi Massó (1814-1887), who immigrated from Spain in 1830, experimented with spirits and founded the small distillery "Bacardi y Compañia" with his brother José in Santiago de Cuba in 1862. He developed the recipe for the world's first clear "white" drinking rum, which is produced according to a recipe that has been kept secret until today, with fermentation by special yeasts, charcoal filtration and storage in oak barrels. The unmistakable trademark is a bat, in Cuba the symbol of luck. From 1872 onwards, the founder's sons Emilio and Facundo Bacardi Moreau continued the company. By the end of the 19th century rum was already known far beyond Cuba.
In 1910 the first foreign bottling plant was built in Barcelona (Spain). After the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and the expropriation without compensation one year later, the Bacardi family emigrated to the USA. However, they managed to take the original yeast cultures with them and retain the international trademark rights. In addition, they had foreseen the development and had already taken appropriate measures beforehand. The original distillery, which continued to produce in Cuba using the old method, marketed its rum under the name "Ron Caney" (Spanish Ron = rum, Caney = hut). However, the most important rum brand in Cuba in terms of volume is called "Havana Club". But there has been a long dispute about this name, because Bacardi claims the rights for himself.
Today Bacardi is the synonym for drinking rum par excellence and the number 1 rum brand worldwide. There are more than 20 varieties of rum or rum-containing mixed drinks; the best known are Añejo, Big Apple, Breezer, Cocó, Oro and Superior. In the course of time a number of renowned brands of spirits have been taken over. These include Bénédictine (spiced liqueur), Bombay Sapphire (gin), Below(vodka), Cazadores(tequila), Dewar's(whisky), Eristoff (vodka), Grey Goose (vodka), Palmas (rum) and many others. The portfolio includes a total of around 200 brands. In addition, there are exclusive distribution rights for other well-known spirits brands.
In 1993 a merger with the Italian company Martini & Rossi took place with their wormwood brand Martini and wines, as well as the French wormwood house Noilly Prat, which is owned by them. Bacardi operates 38 production sites worldwide with 6,000 employees. The headquarters are located in San Juan/Puerto Rico, in Hamilton/Bahamas and in Miami/Florida-USA. Over 200 million bottles are marketed annually. The company is the largest privately owned spirits producer in the world. It is managed by L. Facundo Bacardi, a great-great-grandson of the founder. See also the world's largest wine companies.