Bacardi marks 50 years in Bermuda
Global drinks giant Bacardi yesterday celebrated its 50th year on the Island with the launch of a special limited edition Bermuda rum.
President and CEO of Bacardi International Jacques Tortoroli unveiled Bacardi Reserve — a reincarnation of a company legend with just 2,400 bottles to be sold exclusively in Bermuda.
Mr Tortoroli uncorked the first bottles at Casa Bacardi, a special store set up at the corner of Queen Street and Reid Street in Hamilton, where the $50-a-bottle Bacardi Reserve will be available until Wednesday, July 15 or until supplies run out, as well as other spirits produced by the firm.
Bacardi was forced out of its Cuban homeland after the revolution of 1959 propelled Fidel Castro and a Communist regime to power.
The firm finally settled on Bermuda as its global HQ in 1965, setting up in its iconic Mies van der Rohe-designed building on Pitts Bay Road.
Mr Tortoroli said: “Fifty years ago, when our company was looking for a new home, Bermuda was ideal with its stable environment, commercially sound infrastructure and its favourable location.
“Bermuda became the hub for rapid expansion of the company that now operates in more than 100 countries.”
He added: “In celebrating this milestone, we have created this Casa Bacardi store to highlight our connection with Bermuda over the years and to proudly display our broad selection of our premium portfolio of products.”
He explained that Bacardi master blender Juan Pinera had retrieved the unique Reserve formula from the firm’s archives for a single batch, hand-crafted production run.
The blend — originally created 35 years ago by master blender Manuel Oliver — was discontinued in 2002 when the firm launched Bacardi 8-year-old.
Mr Tortoroli said a “significant” chunk of the proceeds of the sale of the reborn rum will be donated to anti-substance abuse charity CADA’s “Let Us Drive” programme, which has ferried more than 12,620 revellers home from Hamilton since it was set up in 2007 with continued support from Bacardi.
He added: “Bacardi’s care in supporting communities where our employers work and play is a source of pride for us.
“In Bermuda, Bacardi has for 50 years supported the community through donations, scholarships, volunteerism, sponsorships and mentoring through internship programmes.
“At our Bacardi headquarters building on Pitts Bay Road we proudly display our company’s trademark in the entrance foyer as a symbol of the Bacardi family’s longstanding commitment to the people of Bermuda.”
And Mr Tortoroli said the firm would throw a block party at its HQ on Thursday, June 18 — the exact anniversary of their move to the Island — to show its appreciation of the Island.
Mr Tortoroli added that Bacardi was monitoring the thaw in the relationship between the US and Cuba, which had been under a strict American embargo since the 1959 revolution against dictator Fulgencio Batista.
He said: “We will see how things develop. We are in more than 100 countries, so I’m sure we will maintain our good relations with the people of Bermuda. We have been here 50 years and plan to be here longer.”
Casa Bacardi was officially opened by Premier Michael Dunkley, who told dignitaries that June 18 was his own birthday — so he would not forget the party date.
Mr Dunkley told Mr Tortoroli: “In the past 50 years, you have developed a very special relationship with Bermuda.”
And he said that firm’s decision to base itself on the Island showed confidence in Bermuda as a place to do business and praised Bacardi’s community spirit.
Mr Dunkley added: “That confidence has remained for these 50 years and we look forward to the next 50 years of the relationship.
“That’s what makes the strength of Bermuda — we attract people here for many reasons, but their commitment builds Bermuda.”
CADA chairman Anthony Santucci said: “This gives us more opportunities to send people home safely and we’re grateful to Bacardi, our lead sponsors, and our support sponsors Burrows Lightbourn, Gosling’s and the Corporation of Hamilton.”
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