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Bacardi is a family-controlled spirits company, best known as a producer of rums, including Bacardi Superior and Bacardi 151.[2] The company sells in excess of 200 million bottles per year in nearly 100 countries.[3] The company's sales in 2007 were US$5.5 billion, up from $4.9 billion in 2006.

Bacardi is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda and has a 16-member board of directors led by the original founder's great-great grandson, Facundo L. Bacardí. The President Bernard F. Ramírez and Co-President Charles M. Hernández, also play a large part in production and sales.


First century

Facund Bacardí i Massó, a Catalan wine merchant, was born in Sitges, Catalonia, (Spain) in 1814, and emigrated to Cuba in 1830. During this period, rum was cheaply made and not considered a refined drink, one rarely sold in upscale taverns. Don Facundo began attempting to "tame" rum. After experimenting with several techniques he hit upon filtering the rum through charcoal, which removed impurities. In addition to this, Facundo aged the rum in oak barrels, which had the effect of "mellowing" the drink.

Moving from the experimental stage to a more commercial endeavor, he and his brother José set up shop in a Santiago de Cuba distillery they bought in 1862; that distillery housed a still made of copper and cast iron, and was in a building in whose rafters lived fruit bats.[4]

The 1880s and 90s were turbulent times for Cuba and the company. Emilio Bacardí, Don Facundo's eldest son, was repeatedly imprisoned in a Spanish prison for (legitimate) suspicions of running a rebel financing and support network during the Cuban War of Independence.[5]

Emilio's brothers, Facundo and José, and his brother-in-law Henri (Don Enrique) Schueg, remained in Cuba with the difficult task of sustaining the company during a period of war. The women in the family were refugees in Kingston, Jamaica. After the war and the US occupation of Cuba, "The Original Cuba Libre" and the Daiquiri were both born with Bacardi rum.[6] In 1899 US general Leonard Wood appointed Emilio Bacardí mayor of Santiago de Cuba.

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