Catano, Puerto Rico (approx. 20mins drive from Old San Juan) has the world largest rum distillery. They have free daily tours so I got my tourist hat on and went for a visit. The GPS didn’t recognize the address on the pamphlet so it actually took me three tries (on three separate days :P) If you go and have the same problem, type in PR888 as destination. But when you’re on PR165, don’t take the ramp to PR888 just keep going on PR165 and you’ll see it on your right. Take the u-turn at the gas station right passed it and you will get to the gates. That’s actually not the entrance..you keep going around (turn right at Do no enter sign then there’s a quick left followed by another left turn) and you see the fancy gates of Bacardi! See, it’s not really me..it’s hard to find and the people at the gas station weren’t helpful.
Anyways, Barcardi started in Cuba in 1826 by Don Facundo Bacardi. He developed a unique method of making rum from sweet sugar cane molasses and after six generations of the Bacardi’s, their rum is still one of the most recognized and prized brand of rums. Their headquarters is now in Bermuda but still uses the same rum formulas.
So, this is what I learned. By adding the right amount of yeast, the sugars in the mash turns into alcohol, which a process called fermentation. Once fermented, the rum is filtered through charcoal and aged for at least a year in American white oak barrel. The longer the rum stays in the barrels, the more flavor it develops. Obviously, it’s the simplified version but it was fun watching the video(9mins) and smelling small barrels with the different stages of rum in them. I was a bit disappointed that the tour doesn’t include walking through the actual manufacturing plants but it was all good once I got the two glasses of Bacardi cocktails as a complementary of the tour. I preferred the mojitos to the Cuba Libre(coke&rum). It was a nice experience. Very tourist friendly with a nice gift shop to fulfill all your Bacardi needs. Cheers!