Early Zacapa bottles came in a bottle covered in a petate - a hand woven matting made from palm leaves which dates from the Mayan period. More recently they feature a band around the middle of the bottle.
At Zacapa they say this is not true. The bottle changed in 2004 and Zacapa wasn’t with Diageo at that moment. The bottle is now transparent instead of the old dark. Perhaps sunlight has its influence on the rum on a molecular level.
The outside of the bottles has had a big metamorphose in 2004, especially the looks. The bottle used to be entirely wrapped in royal palm leaf which was hand woven by the women of the Chorti community in Jocotan.
This petate was first made as floor-mats for Mayan kings, who were the only ones entitled to use it. It was believed that sitting on a petate changes your whole view of the world and forces you to look at life with humility and to see things for what they are. Until 2003 there were only a few artisans who produced about 2000 bands per month. In that year (2003) a productive chain was created that allowed Jocotan to sell its artisan products. Now 350 artisans work here and produce 20.000 petate bands each month. This economic growth has raised the strength of women in the local community. The sustainability of this project is supported by the producers of Zacapa and has allowed these woman artisans to improve their quality of life. Other industries have followed suit and employed these workers to create other types of creations from petate.