Jalen is proud to promote the Bacardi brand
As the new Bacardi brand manager in Bermuda, Bermudian Jalen Harvey really wants the island to be proud of the company.
“I would love to see more Bermudians taking ownership and feeling proud of Bacardi,” the 28 year old said.
He began to see the importance of Bacardi’s Bermuda headquarters, while working for four years at the American Bacardi headquarters in Miami, Florida.
“I remember being in Miami in boardrooms,” he said. “We would be talking about budgets, and things like that, and the conversation always ended with ‘this has to get approved in Bermuda’.
“That was something I had to wrap my head around. Here we are this small island, and all the big decisions are made here. Bermuda is such an important place for such a large company.”
He said when you hear the phrase “family owned company” you think of a mom and pop operation.
“But Bacardi is the second largest spirits company in the world,” he said. “That is awesome.”
He wanted to work at Bacardi from the time he was in his teens. Back then, he did not really know exactly what he would do when he got there; he just knew he wanted to be there.
He finally got his wish in 2017, when he was hired as an on premise account manager at Bacardi in Coral Gables, Florida. He was 24.
“I thought I would do marketing, but I ended up in sales,” he said. “Now I am doing a bit of both.”
His time at the company’s US headquarters was a tremendous learning curve.
“It was definitely a sink or swim situation,” Mr Harvey said. “The US is the biggest earner for Bacardi globally.”
And Bacardi has been good to him.
One of his passions is football, and he played for the Bermuda national football team for several years, in his youth, and for North Village. When the Bermuda national team qualified for the Concacaf Gold Cup in 2019, he wanted to play with them.
Bacardi gave him a month and a half off to follow his dream.
“They said, the job will be here when you get back,” he said.
It turned out to be great for his career, because people around Bermuda and the US started to link him with both football and Bacardi.
When the pandemic rolled around in March 2020, he was working as an off premise marketing manager in Miami.
“Miami is a great party city,” he said. “I was dealing with sales in liquor stores. When people could not go out to bars and restaurants, they actually bought more from liquor stores. My sales went through the roof. At one point we were up 40 per cent.”
He returned to Bermuda two months ago, and is now working on a Bacardi Grey Goose promotion. Customers who buy a 750ml bottle at MarketPlace stores can enter a draw for a free bottle of Grey Goose, and ultimately, a two-night stay at Rosewood Bermuda. The promotion ends on October 10.
Mr Harvey describes himself as a “Bacardi guy”, and has amassed quite a collection of Bacardi spirits in his short time with the corporation.
“I have limited edition products and things I will never open,” he said. “For example, I have a bottle of 24-year-old Bacardi Teeling whiskey. I got that in 2019. They only made 5,000 bottles of that.”
In 2017, the Dublin-based Teeling Whisky Company sold a minority stake to Bacardi Ltd. Mr Harvey received the bottle from Bacardi when he answered a question correctly in a training session.
“It was a gift,” he said. “It is something I cherish very much. For retail price, it is around $300 and some change, but because there are so few of them there is a resale price of $1,500 or above. The most expensive resell is for $2,400. I am never opening that bottle.”
Mr Harvey said he is in a fun industry.
“A lot of people see me on social media and say, all you do is party and drink,” he said. “But there is a lot of business that goes on behind the scenes. I am very involved in the nightlife industry. “
And he is a people person. He loves to network.
“Taking care of the connections is super important to me,” he said.
Mr Harvey is not limiting himself to what he wants to do in the future.
“I definitely want to grow within Bacardi,” he said. “I want to be an executive. I would like to say I could be the chief executive officer one day. I like to shoot for the stars.”