Monday, July 20, 2015

The Signs of the Bacardi Family in Santiago de Cuba

Bacardi Villa in Santiago de Cuba Today
     The Bacardi family has left a huge footprint in Santiago de Cuba.  It was my pleasure to visit Santiago de Cuba and see all of the historic sites and enjoy the raw beauty of the city.  Santiago de Cuba has a small town charm and attraction that a large city like Havana lacks.  It is a bit of a small town feel that makes it really attractive. 

Museo de Emilio Bacardi Moreau
     The Bacardi family lived very well in Santiago de Cuba and made a large contribution to Santiago de Cuba's prosperity and politics during the family's tenure.
   The Museo de Emilio Bacardi Moreau was closed for restoration while I was there, but I did get to see the family house, the exterior of the Museum, and the Rum Factory.

     "Rum baron by day, freedom-fighter by
Bacardi Rum Factory
night.  Emilio Bacardi Moreau put his life and livelihood on the line to aid Cuba in its fight for independence from Spain."  Arrested, exiled and twice imprisoned for his beliefs and refusal to support Spanish rule, he was rewarded for his patriotism when he returned from exile to become the first freely-elected Mayor of Santiago de Cuba.  In 1960, the revolutionary regime in Cuba illegally confiscated all the Bacardi Company’s Cuban assets without compensation and forced them out of the country. The Bacardi’s lost their business and their home, but as history has proven, not their spirit. "

Hatuey Brewery formerly owned by  Bacardi
    In addition to the rum factory, Bacardi brewery is just down the street.  It is still in operation today producing Hatuey Beer for local consumption.  The Hatuey brand originated in Cuba and was owned by the Bacardi family. When the Cuban Government nationalized the brewery, the brand essentially split. While the Bacardi’s own the brand for the global market and produce it under contract, the Cuban government still operates a brewery in Santiago to produce this as a local beer for the locals.

Today the Former Bacardi Rum Factory produces a very fine line of Santiago de Cuba Rums along with several other rums including Havana Club 15 Year Old Rum.

     As you visit the distillery or the brewery the only reference to its former owners is the faded word "Bacardi" on a derelict unused conveyer belt housing that connects the two parts of the factory.