Expanding Bacardi has added to island staff
Bermuda-based drinks giant Bacardi has brought more jobs to Bermuda as the firm expands its portfolio, the company's regional president for Latin America and the Caribbean said.
Ignacio del Valle, in Bermuda to help launch two new premium rums, said Mahesh Madhavan, appointed chief executive officer of family-owned Bacardi last October, had already made changes.
Mr del Valle, a sixth-generation member of the Bacardi family, said: “He has brought more jobs to Bermuda and senior executives to Bermuda.
“I visit Bermuda myself every month-and-a-half and the global leadership meets here every 40 to 45 days.”
He was speaking as Bacardi teamed up with island drinks distributor Burrows Lightbourn to introduced Anejo 4 and Gran Reserva 10 premium rums to Bermuda as part of the firm's “True Aged Rum” range at the Pickled Onion in Hamilton last Tuesday.
Bacardi employs more than 70 people at its global headquarters on Pitts Bay Road.
Mr del Valle added that the firm, forced to flee its original home in Cuba after a 1959 revolution propelled Fidel Castro and a hardline Communist regime to power, remained committed to Bermuda as its world headquarters.
He said: “Cuba is where our roots are since 1862. The Bacardi name was born there and we have been in Bermuda since the 1960s.
“We plan to continue being in Bermuda and calling it our home for many years to come.”
The firm has grown from its original base in rum to take in other spirits, including Scotch whisky, vermouth, gin, as well as the premium vodka Grey Goose.
Bacardi also acquired Patron, the world's top-selling upmarket tequila brand, in a $5.1 billion deal in April this year.
Mr del Valle said: “Bacardi has just taken on the most important tequila brand in the world, so that's another demonstration of the size of the company and how the owners and management feel about the future of the company.
“Bermuda has been a great home for us — many of the family have lived in Bermuda and there is no reason for us not to consider Bermuda our home. We're very grateful to Bermuda.”
Mr del Valle added that last year's Hurricane Maria had devastated Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, where the company makes most of its rum, and affected production and distribution.
But he said the company's distillery plant, although roofs were blown off and walls damaged at warehouses, had escaped the worst of the damage.
Mr del Valle added: “Hurricane Maria affected Puerto Rico in a very material and significant way.
“We suffered cosmetic damage — we lost a lot of trees and we lost our power, but the storm did not affect our barrels and our ageing facilities which are the jewels.”
And he said: “We were the first company in Puerto Rico to resume exports after the storm.”
He added the company had pitched in to help Puerto Ricans and set up “stop-and-go” aid centres manned by staff from the Casa Bacardi visitor centre, which offered charging stations for mobile devices, children's play areas, medical services and meals.
Casa Bacardi, the second most-visited venue in Puerto Rico, features the history of Bacardi, a bar inspired by the company's bat logo and tours of the production plant.
Mr del Valle said: “We might have travelling versions of Casa Bacardi and that could travel to Bermuda.”
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