Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Party Time

Today is a day of great costumes and a lot of fun being spooky.  This day is not just for the kids either, it can be a great time for the adults to bring out their secret persona and be a little bit crazy for an evening.

This is a time that will require a great costume that fits your secret side and some great cocktails to go along with the theme of the night.  Halloween can not happen without pumpkins and crazy cocktails.  Here is an idea that will fill the bill for tonight and can be consumed anytime this fall.

Bahama Bob's Mocha Halloween
  • 2 oz. Brinley Coffee Rum
  • 1 oz. Creme de Mure
  • ½ oz. Campari
  • 1 oz.  Coffee Mate Pumpkin Spice
  • ½ oz. Agave Nectar
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg
Place all ingredients except the Campari in a Shaker filled with ice, Shake for about 30 seconds  until chilled and strain into a Snifter filled with fresh ice and drizzle the campari into the blend.  Top with fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Two of The British Virgin Islands Most Famous Bars Lie in Ruin Following the Ravaging of Irma and Marie.

Soggy Dollar After Irma & Marie
Soggy Dollar Bar. Some good news here. While mostly destroyed, a couple of walls are standing and there’s a roof. The rest of it is a pile of wood.

Soggy Dollar Before

Willie T Aground with a lot of Damage After Irma and Marie
• Willie T’s. Thanks to Randeen for providing this information: It’s beached, stripped of the top floor and everything on the main deck is gone.

William Thornton Before

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Soft Edge of another Tropical Depression Coming over Key West

     It looks like we are getting a little bit of wind and rain from the yet unnamed  storm to the south of Cuba and over the Cayman Islands.  Fortunately they are only predicting winds around 20 mph for the Keys, but they are predicting a fairly large amount of rain from this one.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Angostura Rum Portfolio Will Evolve

Genevieve Jodhan, CEO
    Genevieve Jodhan, CEO of Laventille-­based rum and bitters producer Angostura Holdings, joined Angostura in 2007, having worked in the logistics and supply chain industry.   After spending almost 10 years in the group’s export and marketing teams, she became acting CEO in 2016, when Robert Wong went on leave, and then took up the role permanently in February this year. Reports speculated that Wong left the group amid controversy, claiming that Angostura’s rums were “under audit”, and accusing the group of “buying bulk rum” then repackaging it for sale “in breach of the EU’s rules of origin”. As such, the reports also called into question Angostura’s rum age statements.
     All such criticisms were refuted by Angostura, and a review of internal processes found that all was “in order”, citing compliance with internationally accepted manufacturing standards. Jodhan says that “ironically” the criticism followed efforts to “improve” processes before an ISO recertification. “We implemented more stringent internal audit processes to identify process and paper trail disconnects and gaps,” she says. “Closing those gaps and streamlining our processes meant we had to make changes, structurally at the management level. Organizational changes are not easy, and this resulted in some negative publicity.”
     A media storm is not an easy challenge to mitigate when one starts a new job, but Jodhan was enthusiastic about her new role, nonetheless. With her appointment, she became the first woman to lead a large Trinidad and Tobago company outside of the energy sector.   Jodhan says cultivating a diverse workforce is one of her priorities, and stems from discussions that took place in the mid 19­90s when she worked for 3M. “With our marketing team in Angostura, we have swung totally the other way,” she laughs. “Now our marketing department is made up of 80% women.  But it’s more about competency and equality, rather than a ‘let’s only hire females’ attitude.”
     Jodhan says her main goal is to elevate the international status of Angostura’s rums and recently launched amaro expression.   While Angostura Aromatic Bitters is the world’s best­selling bitters brand and a back-­bar staple, the footprint of Angostura’s rums outside of its domestic market pales in comparison.   “We make the best­-known aromatic bitters in the world, but hardly anyone knows about our exceptional rum and the Amaro di Angostura,” she says. “So my focus is on accelerating brand building to increase the awareness of the rum and the amaro, and to maintain the position we have in bitters. I want us to be recognized as the world’s leading premium heritage rum brand.   That’s my passion.” Jodhan admits that the brand name ‘Angostura’ has become synonymous with the bitters category, presenting a further challenge in establishing its rums. But, she adds: “That name opened the door for our rums because we do make high quality bitters.”   Despite the international prevalence of its bitters, Angostura’s rums are the company’s “number one line of business”. In 2016, Angostura redesigned its international rum range to communicate its heritage and assert a modern point of difference.
     When Amaro di Angostura launched in 2014, it marked the company’s first venture into a new spirits category in its 190­-year history. The new product has “leveraged on the bitters portfolio”, according to Jodhan, with its similar yellow design cues. It uses Angostura Aromatic Bitters as a base, and combines additional spices and neutral alcohol. As Angostura’s stable begins to diversify, is there a possibility of acquisitions on the horizon? “Of course,” Jodhan answers, without divulging any further details. Angostura will also “evolve” its rum portfolio with “different cask finishes” and “develop more complex spirits,” she says.
Angostura Column Stills
     Based on a 20­-acre complex, Angostura’s distillery has long supplied third­-party rum stocks. However, the company made a “strategic decision” in the third quarter of 2016 to reduce its bulk rum production after a project to upgrade its waste-water-management facilities “didn’t work out as well as we hoped,” says Jodhan. “We started to scope out and ask, how can we produce responsibly? And we realized that we needed to cut back production and make some changes. That led us to look at the entire business model to see where we want to be, then reposition the company for the future.”        Angostura has maintained some key supply contracts, but will reserve greater distilling capacity for its own brands. This change in production strategy has also allowed Angostura to speed up its premium trajectory, focusing more on value than volume, says Jodhan. “We don’t just think it will happen, we intend to make it happen.”   However, she adds: “The future of rum lies in all categories, and mainstream rums are here to stay.   But there is an untapped market at the top end that is wide open, and I think rum will continue to push into areas once reserved for whisky.”
Angostura Aging Bodega
Angostura’s rum portfolio is divided into ‘international rums’ – its premium heritage­-driven expressions – and ‘Trinidadian jewels’ – rums not branded as ‘Angostura’ that dominate the domestic market. As part of a -year strategy that started with the redesign of the international rums portfolio, Jodhan says Angostura may consider expanding international distribution of its ‘Trinidadian jewels’.   “We are looking at how we can move forward,” Jodhan says. “This happens to all companies, and we are looking at what our 10­-year ageing plan will be, and what that range should be.   By January we should be announcing some additions or deletions. But it’s not anything that we are scared of.”
     On Angostura’s website, the firm says it wants to be the “most profitable rum company in the Caribbean and continuously improve our position as the largest aromatic bitters company in the world”. But Jodhan says a new ambition will be set in motion. “We have achieved our previous vision. We want to look at the brand portfolio: how we can realign; how we can invest in people and develop talent; then look at any opportunities we may have missed in Trinidad and Tobago.”
     One thing that will not change at Angostura, Jodhan says, is the focus on heritage and innovation. “I am fascinated by two almost contradictory threads that define us as a business,” she says. “The House of Angostura is steeped in tradition but we are absolutely driven to innovate. We constantly look at process, packaging and product innovation. Our blenders are continuously looking at new ageing and rum finishing techniques. It is tremendously exciting to live and work at the intersection of these two phenomena.”

Friday, October 27, 2017

Foxy's Tamarind Bar Reopens on Jost Van Dyke

     Foxy's Tamarind Bar, one of the Caribbean’s  legendary beach bars has reopened in the wake of  Hurricanes Irma and Marie.  Foxy’s Tamarind Bar on Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke has officially reopened its doors.

Foxy and Bahama Bob
     “The storm blew away a lot of things but Jost Van Dyke is still here!” the bar posted on its Facebook page.  While Hurricane Irma hit the bar hard, Foxy’s team was able to put a new roof on its front beach bar, using materials that were salvaged locally.

     Until further notice, the bar is open Monday through Saturday, serving  a limited offering of mostly beer and burgers.  It’s not full blown Foxy’s, but it’s a start to bring it back to its old self.  Here’s hoping there’s a great Old Year’s Night come the end of December.  “We will be waiting and sippin’ on some firewater rum,” the bar said.  Even better? The New Horizon ferry is operating to Jost Van Dyke.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Destileria Serralles Reopens After Damage from Maria

     Destilería Serrallés, Inc., producer of Don Q, Puerto Rico's #1 family of premium rums, has 
resumed its production and export operations after a brief disruption caused by Hurricane María's path through Puerto Rico.

     "We recently began rum production and our shipments are beginning to flow to our clients in the United States and rest of the world. Serrallés has been producing exceptional rums in our homeland, Puerto Rico for 152 years and we will continue to do so for many more.  Our team has worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to ensure the recovery of our operations, despite the level of destruction, lack of power and other challenges resulting from the aftermath of the hurricane.  Together we have sustained many types of storms and recovered successfully, learning to become stronger and better prepared each time", commented Silvia Santiago, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing.     

     Immediately after the impact of both hurricanes, the company's USA operation proactively began organizing events as well as helping in fundraising activities in more than 100 on-premise establishments in over 30 states, where funds resulting from these activities are matched by Serrallés.  In addition, company employees have reached out to their communities to collect basic necessity items that have been sent to Puerto Rico to provide relief to hundreds of families in dire need.  Puerto Rico's infrastructure was totally devastated and the island continues to recover slowly facing many obstacles in restoring power, water services and telecommunications.

     Locally, the company has been working with celebrity chef Ventura Vivoni and the Ponce Hilton, where an average of 800 hot meals are distributed daily throughout local communities and elderly homes by company employees and volunteers. 

     "Serrallés has always been committed to helping Puerto Rico.  Resuming our rum production and exports has a positive impact in our local economy, adding much needed tax revenues to our local government that will in turn assist in our country's recovery.  We appreciate the solidarity and understanding of our distributors and clients, who are loyal supporters and advocates of Don Q rum and Puerto Rico", added Roberto J. Serrallés, Business Development Vice President.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bahama Bob's Fantasyfest on Duval

     Looking for a nice cocktail Idea tonight, I felt like a highball style cocktail was proper for the fantasyfest week.   I have grown to like cocktails with a sweet/tart hints to the experience.  The Campari and Dolin Vermouth countered by the lime juice and the agave nectar give the cocktail a nice balance that makes it easy to sip and enjoy.

     Bahama Bob's
Fantasyfest on Duval

  • 2 oz. Yolo 10 Year Old Rum
  • 1 oz. Dolin Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Campari
  • 1/2 oz. of fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz. of Agave Nectar

Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled and pour into a highball glass and garnish with a lime or lemon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Jigger or Free Pour?

Bahama Bob at the Rum Bar back a few Years
      This is an article that I find to be very interesting and both sides have valid points, for me, I have to say that I was able to work very accurately either way.
     I always use a jigger when I am creating new cocktails, because I have to be able to communicate the recipe for people who many not have the skills to accurately free pour.
     The other thing that I have noticed over the years is a lot of barmen will use a jigger and let it overflow into the glass or shaker, totally defeating the reason for using a jigger in the first place.  I always love a good debate, and this is a subject that will always spark one.

David Eden-Sangwell, brand activation executive, Catalyst PLB, Midlands
      I’ve always been a fan of free pouring. To me, it’s one of the skills that every bartender should have in their arsenal, regardless of whether they choose to use it behind their bar every day. Yes, it’s something that takes dedication and practice to do well and consistently, but that’s kind of why I like it.
     For me, a jigger is an additional barrier between myself and the guest I’m taking care of. It slows service, especially on multiple spirit cocktails where a free-­pouring bartender could easily be grabbing and pouring two or more bottles at once, and enjoying interaction with their guests at the same time.

Erik Lorincz, head bartender, American Bar at The Savoy, London
     I used to do quite a lot of free pouring when I started bartending about 17 years ago, but that was a long time ago and since then lots of things have progressed.
     Today, I can’t imagine free pouring, apart from a cup of tea. As standard practice at our bar, we measure using a jigger. I don’t find it old fashioned at all. It’s no longer old school or old fashioned, it’s just a way of judging the final results of a drink, and at the end you want it to be a fantastic result.
     What is important here is not the way we make those drinks, it’s how they taste. Some bartenders think that free pouring looks very cool, it seems fast but at the same time if you learn how to work fast with the jigger, it can be equally as fast.
     The main benefit of using a jigger is consistency – when free pouring some bartenders use some sort of counting, but some don’t count at all and just look at how much they are pouring into the shaker. But if the bartender is jiggering or using a measuring cup, the same quantities will be used and the drink will taste exactly the same each time.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Back to Distillation at Hemingway Rum Company

Rum Coming out of the Condenser
     After nearly six weeks since Irma struck Key West, the Hemingway Rum Company will be
distilling today.  Guests that would like to see the distillery in operation, today is the day.  There will be tours of the distillery, plus the tasting room and and gift shop will be open for your pleasure.

    The fermentation is ready and the equipment has been thoroughly checked over and ready to produce rum again.  We will be doing a stripping run tomorrow which distills the alcohol and the tails from the wash.  There will be two stripping stripping runs before the refining rum that bring the rum to the proper proof and cleanliness.

The Still
     If you have an interest in how distilling works and see the wash become rum, today is the day to come to the distillery.  Our tour guide will explain what is happening as the distillation progresses and the rum makes will be able to share what is happening as well.

     Looking forward to seeing many of you who are at the distillery tomorrow to experience the process first hand.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Power That Mother Nature Possesses is NO JOKE

     This is a 40 plus foot boat that weighs in excess of 30,000 pounds was tossed into the mangroves is a matter of seconds as the waves from the area around the eye came aground here in the Bahia Honda Marina.

     People sometimes scoff at the power of the sea, but when she gets riled up, she can adn does a tone of damage and nothing seems to be able to stop her when she hits.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Stress Relief, a Day on the Water with Our Friends

     Finally, We got out on the boat for a trip to Bahia Honda and Little Palm Island.  The was a ton of damage to both of our favorite places and things are moving ahead in both places to get them back into operation.

Beautiful day on the Water
    For our "Camper" Lil Sanity, this is the first time back on the water since Irma.  The waters were off limits for a couple of weeks or so after Irma and it took a while for the marina to get its fork lifts going again and have the buildings checked for security by the structural engineers.  The wait is over and Marta and I and our friends Don and Patti made a day of being on the water.

South Shoreline of Big Pine
     Seeing the devastation from Sugarloaf to Bahia Honda was very sad.  The houses, trees, plants all gone where just 6 weeks ago was lush vegetation and beautiful homes.   The brown bushes and trees where the leaves were striped by the monstrous winds and tornado's that lashed through this area.

Little Bahia Honda Before
Little Bahia Honda After

     The little island to the south of the Bahia Honda Bridge is virtually gone, there is just one little stick of a tree left on it.

Captain Run Aground's Boat
Bahia Honda Marina Entrence
    The park is bald, with the exception of a few palm trees and other odd trees.  They say that the park
Little Palm Island Docks
will reopen by the end of October, and the marina hopefully by Thanksgiving.  A captain had brought his boat into the marina just as the storm was hitting and ended up on the sidewalk next to the moorings in the marina.

Little Palm Island Resort
     Little Palm Island is in a similar state of  devastation.  The buildings, docks and the grounds were a mess, but like Bahia Honda they were being restored.  There were workers cleaning up the mess and starting to rebuild the resort.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Believe it or Not, Fantasyfest is Ready to Begin in Key West

     Looking back six weeks or so you would never believe that Key West would be ready to invite
thousands of people down her to celebrate Fantasyfest Week, but here we are!!!  The place is ready and the party is going on as planned.   Today kicks the week plus off with Goombay Festival in Bahama Village and the party keeps going until a week from Saturday when it culminates with the Fantasyfest parade.  The schedule for the entire week is at the website.  www.fantasyfest.com/schedule  


    The Bahama Village Goombay Festival is a free family-friendly event! Held in Key West’s historic Bahama Village neighborhood, the lively Goombay is known for its island-style food, arts and crafts, nonstop live entertainment and dancing in the streets. Visitors can experience sights, sounds and flavors recalling Key West’s Bahamian heritage.

     “This exuberant street party showcases island arts and
crafts, music and food in the heart of Key West’s historic Bahama Village neighborhood. The festival’s main entertainment stage is located at the corner of Petronia and Fort streets on Truman Annex, and features nonstop musical entertainment ranging from gospel to reggae. This family friendly street party continues on Saturday! Noon to midnight; FREE.”

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bahama Bob is Giving it a Try, My Own Rum Blend

     Seeing that there are a lot of bars and mixologists that have been creating their own personal blend, I thought about it and here it is.  This is a blend of unflavored or spiced rums that I like for their flavors,mouth feel and color. 
     I spent a fair amount of time trying many, many rums is twos and threes to see how they worked together.  Then I started blending these groupings together and finally I got the flavor and color that I was looking for. 
     Once I got this blend together I put in the test tube and checked the proof, which ended up being 98 Proof ABV.  For me this is a good number to keep the flavor bold and the colors will be nicer after it spends time maturating in my three-liter cask on the aft deck to the boat.  I put up 2 ½ liters of my blend so I will have enough to be able to sample it from time to time as it matures.
     I’ll be sure and keep everyone abreast of how it is progressing from time to time.  I don’t really know how this is going to turn out, but everything that I have aged in these barrels on the back of the boat have yield very good results.

Bahama Bob’s Private Blend
  • Panama Red
  • Damoiseau Agricole
  • Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof
  • Doorly’s XO
  • Mazan Guyana 2005
  • Smith & Cross
  • Cartavio Black Barrel
  • Seven Fathoms Rum

I have put equal amounts of each of these rums into the blend.  Initially it had a very nice flavor and the color, a light mahogany hue.  Let follow this project and have some fun tasting it as it progresses.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cruzan Distillery in St. Croix has the Rum Flowing Again

The Rum is Pouring out of Cruzan Again

Aging Warehouse With Barrels in Good Shape
   The Cruzan Rum distillery has resumed rum production following a temporary shutdown due to the impact of Hurricane Maria, the company announced Monday.  While the distillery suspended operations for approximately three weeks due to storm damage, Cruzan completed critical repairs and does not expect any supply disruptions in the marketplace.  Some of the company’s aging warehouses sustained damage, Cruzan’s maturing rum barrels were not impacted.   Previous investments to establish the distillery’s own power generation facility enabled the timely resumption of rum production. 

Cruzan Distillery on St. Croix
     “Cruzan’s roots are wide and deep in the United States Virgin Islands and Cruzan family have been engaged from the start in support of our employees and neighbors in the territory during this incredibly challenging time,” said David Hunter.   “Our first priority was to establish the safety and well being of our employees, and to help them get back on their feet. We airlifted in 35 restoration workers with necessary equipment and supplies to help get the distillery back up and running safely.   In partnership with our friends at Diageo, we teamed up to ship to St. Croix a container of relief supplies, including 90 generators and drinking water.  Thanks to the courage, character and commitment of our Cruzan team, led by Master Distiller Gary Nelthropp, our people are looking ahead and helping contribute to the long-term recovery of the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Creating Your Own Personal Rum Blend

     For many years now I have played with different means of aging and blending rums to create new and fun rums.  After reading and interesting article of how some bars have made a priority blend for their customers from existing expressions gave me an idea.  People have asked me for years what was my favorite rum, and my glib answer has always been “the one I have in my hand”.  I think that it is time for me to put some of my skills together and make up a blend that truly suits my palate and share it with my closest friends.
     I have done some experimenting in this vein when I was at the Rum Bar in Key West.  I had my “Root Juice”, “Bark Juice” and Barrel Juice” that took high proof rums and let them age in different things in a gallon jug for the customers to try.  These became very popular among the clientele, but I think that it is time for me to get a bit more serious about blending a special expression to put my name on.
     For most of us like rum more than anything else, It’s the spirit with the widest range of characteristics, styles, that come to us from so many regions of the world. 
After tasting hundreds and hundreds of rums produced all over the world, I’m going to try and narrow it down to seven or eight that will generate different characteristics to fit my personal palate.  Arriving at the final recipe will take some time experimenting with many of my 300 or so rums, but when I decide on a final blend, I will be putting into my three-liter cask and let it age as a until it matures to the taste I’m looking for.

     This is something that anyone with a taste for rum can do, you just have to be willing to put in the time to work with all of the expressions that you have available to you and in what proportions you want them.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Skotlander Rum Being Aged in World War II Bunker

Prior Skotlander Rums  Aged Aboard Ships
     Skotlander Rum has become the first in the world to mature its spirit in a bunker last used during the World War II.  Niels Henrik Lindhardt, from the North Danish town of Aabybro  owns the building and was “excited about the spirit experiment from day one”.   Skotlander Rum will also slowly ferment the rum mash in the bunker for four weeks before maturing in the same location.  Owner of Skotlander Rum, Anders Skotlander, said that while the tropics are traditionally the part of the world associated with rum maturation, Denmark’s cold climate “offers us something different”.
     “Previously we have tried ageing rum at sea on an old schooner – the movement of the sea and the difference between summer and winter gave us a really interesting rum,” he said.  “Now let’s try the complete opposite – the rum is being kept still and the temperature in the bunker is 57 Degrees F night and day, all year round.”  “The rum will have to age for longer than normal in the cold and humid environment, but we believe that the slow maturation will reflect the Danish terroir and result in a very sophisticated rum. At least that’s what we hope – but we really don’t know.”  Skotlander has the Danish Food Administration approval to store 10,000 liters of rum in the bunker.   The first batches should be available in 2018. 
     Spirits producers have experimented with different maturation methods for as long as spirits have been made.  Everything from putting the spirit into an oak bottle to sending the spirit into space and everything in between.  The solera method is one of the earlier methods to reduce the maturation time, and a method that is still in use today.   Today there are a number of companies placing the casks onboard ships and sending them out to sea or even submerging the casks below the sea.  There is one company that has learned how to alter the rum chemically to accomplish in a very short period of time to do what the barrel takes years to accomplish.

     All of these methods and many more have yielded different results, providing the unique flavor that the producer is looking for.  Do they all work, well, that is a subject of long debates among spirits producers.  One thing for sure most all of the methods have helped the producers to sell their spirits.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Present From the Marriage of the Sun and the Rain

     Sometimes from the dark and gloomy grows an arc of beauty.  Just after the storm passed, this beautiful rainbow appeared in the skies over Key West.  I love this place, everywhere you look, something of beauty will appear if you keep your eyes open to it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Boy Can Mother Nature be a Bitch

Tree Damage in Key West
     Just a little over a month ago Irma hit Florida, Harvey nailed Texas in August and now Northern California is being wiped out by a fire storm.  2017 will go down as a year of natural disasters of epic proportions.   

Wind Destruction from Irma in the Keys
     The final report just came out on the damage in the Florida Keys.   There were some 675 structures destroyed, 465 were on Big Pine Key, the assessment says. Eighty-one were on Cudjoe Key. Houses also were crushed on Big Coppitt Key, Geiger Key, Little Torch Key, Lower Sugarloaf Key, Ramrod Key, Stock Island, Rockland Key, Sugarloaf Key, Summerland Key and Scout Key.  Twenty-three houses were destroyed in Key Largo and 10 on Conch Key.  The assessments were done by county staff going house to house, looking at the exteriors. Inspectors did not enter the buildings.  The report says 583 structures had “major” damage and 2,739 sustained “minor” damage. Overall, 10,009 houses were “affected” by the Category 4 Irma that landed Sept. 10 and 3,884 were not affected in the unincorporated areas.

Fire in Northern California
     In Northern California, in just one week, and none of the fires under control there have been some In Santa Rosa, the hardest hit by the fires, officials said they were stunned by the scale of the destruction. An estimated 2,834 homes were destroyed in the city of Santa Rosa alone, along with about 400,000 square feet of commercial space, Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey said in a news conference Thursday afternoon.  Flames left entire neighborhoods and commercial districts in ruins and even destroyed the city’s newest fire station, on Fountaingrove Parkway.  

Harvey Brought Flooding
     14 were Killed in all of Monroe County by Irma and there have already been 31 killed by the fires and 81 by Harvey.  These are really scary events that have been happening on both ends and the center of our country. in August, September and October this year. The damages are in the hundreds and hundreds of billion dollars and the personal losses can't be calculated.  It has been a rough 2017 for a lot of people.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Castro's Takeover of the Bacardi's Cuban Interests in 1960

     I ran across this story that told of the take over of the Bacardi empire in Cuba in 1960.  I found it to be very interesting and thought you might enjoy reading it as well.

How Bacardi Was Exorcised from Cuba by Fidel Castro

Bacardi House in Santiago de Cuba
There is the rum, Bacardi, which we all know. There is this exotic country, Cuba. The drink was born centuries ago in the sugarcane plantations of the beautiful island country.  

Will the Soul Ever Return to the Body?

As the era of Fidel Castro teetered towards its end, that was the million dollar question resonating in the hearts of rum aficionados around the world.

There is the rum, Bacardi, which we all know. There is this exotic country, Cuba. The drink was born centuries ago in the sugarcane plantations of the beautiful island country.

But the happiness did not last forever. The day came when the soul had to leave the body with much anguish.

The revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who stormed to power dethroning the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, saw red in letting private industries run free in a communist country.

But don't assume that the rapport between Castro and Bacardi had never been sweet. When Castro was fighting against Batista, the patriotic Bacardi’s who were deeply engrossed in Cuban social and political institutions cheered him on.

But the relationship turned sour after the honeymoon, after the fall of Batista, after the Castro regime formed its government.

Fidel meant business, and his business was to smother all capitalist ventures. In one swift move, he nationalized all sugar mills and other private initiatives in Cuba. Bacardi felt the heat of the red.
Bacardi Building, Havana

The company was now left with few friends and options.

On October 14, 1960, Cuban national radio announced the doom message, the takeover of a company built painfully by a family. The announcement was followed by national marines crashing into Bacardi's office.

Everything was against Bacardi but for one mistake the communist authorities made. Their marines stormed into the wrong building, the wrong city - Havana.

Meanwhile, at Santiago de Cuba where Bacardi's headquarters and production plant was situated, all was calm outside. Inside, the loyal staff of Bacardi was busy with serious business. A few minutes later, the job was finished; the officials walked out one by one, with a tense smile. They had successfully destroyed the genetic code of Bacardi rum - the last of the yeast cells, that particular breed found 150 years ago from the roots of a sugarcane plant which made Bacardi, Bacardi (only those specific yeast cells could build the unique taste of the drink after a feast on sugar).
Bacardi Rum Factory in Santiago de Cuba

The company had earlier slipped enough strains of the variety out of Cuba to Puerto Rico, where it was going to set up the company for future operations.

You can read the rest of the story at: