Bats Come Home to Roost Near Bacardi Office in South Florida
September 9, 2014
A rare colony of bats find safe haven in Coral Gables, Florida, in a cause close to the Company’s heart
Hamilton, Bermuda, September 9, 2014 – In the shadow of the Bacardi North America regional office in Coral Gables, Florida, there is a rare – and welcome – colony of bats. That’s notable because deeply rooted in the history of Bacardi, is the story of how a long-ago bat colony in Cuba inspired the iconic emblem for BACARDÍ® rum. Today, the distinctive bat device logo is one of the most recognizable trademarks in the world.
“More than 150 years ago, bats were living in the rafters of our first distillery in Santiago de Cuba,” explains Eddie Cutillas, Director of Community Relations for Bacardi in the United States, and a sixth generation Bacardí family member. “They were believed to bring good fortune and symbolize family unity – and so our BACARDÍ bat emblem was born in 1862.”
However, the discovery of bats in Coral Gables is a recent one. When Florida International University (FIU) bat biologist Kirsten Bohn moved into the South Florida city, she first observed them while enjoying a cocktail on her balcony one night. “These bats produce social calls every night while they’re flying around. I recognized them, at first, just by ear,” says Bohn.
Later, using a high-speed recording device, Bohn was able to identify the species. “They are Eumops floridanus, among the rarest mammals in the world,” adds Bohn. “We believe there are only about 500 left and they exist only in southern Florida.”
The biologist began organizing community efforts to protect the creatures – and dispel common misconceptions. “Bats are not blind, nor are they vicious. They don’t swoop down out of the sky and bite you,” says Bohn.
By happenstance, a Coral Gables-based Bacardi employee attended one of the volunteer events and got the Company involved. At the next gathering – which evolved into a science and social event – a full-service bar complete with BACARDÍ rum, t-shirts and branded hats drew a crowd of about 200.
The grass roots effort supports visibility and research. “These bats are an integral part of the environment and the ecology in South Florida,” says Bohn. “They eat large insects, particularly moths and beetles. The best way to preserve this species is to gather as much information about them as possible.”
The bat cause is close to the heart of the Company on a couple of levels: its heritage, office building location, and its relevance to the Bacardi global environmental sustainability initiative – Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future.
“At Bacardi, our good spirited efforts to build a more sustainable future include working with the local communities wherever we conduct our business,” adds Cutillas. “What better fit than with the bats right here in our midst? Our office building in Coral Gables is very close to where these bats call home.”
The Coral Gables bat initiative reinforces the Company’s purpose and values and demonstrates the Bacardi commitment to the environment and sustainable business practices, to the communities where it crafts and sells its products, and to the consumers who enjoy them.
Social responsibility has been a foundation of Bacardi since even before the Company was established, when its founder volunteered to lead humanitarian aid efforts after an earthquake devastated his hometown of Santiago de Cuba in 1852. Community engagement and accountability are ingrained in all aspects of the Company’s work.
This corporate social responsibility commitment is at the core of the Bacardi overall business approach throughout the year, and in every one of its building and facility locations around the world. Since 2006, when the Company began tracking its global impacts on the environment, Bacardi has reduced nonrenewable energy use by 27.7%, supported by a 28.5% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from production. These activities are part of the Bacardi Limited “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future” initiative that sets specific goals by 2022 for sourcing, packaging and operations across the entire Bacardi family of premium spirits brands to help the Company reach its vision of a zero-net impact:
- Responsible Sourcing: Bacardi strives to obtain all raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials while maintaining or enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers. By 2017, the goal is to obtain 40% of the sugarcane-derived products used to make BACARDÍ rum from certified, sustainable sources – and 100% by 2022 – an industry first.
- Global Packaging: Bacardi commits to use eco-design to craft sustainability into its brand packaging and point-of-sale materials. By 2017, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10% and achieve 15% by 2022.
- Operational Efficiencies: Bacardi continues to focus on reducing water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a 2017 goal to cut water use by 55% and GHG emissions by 50%. In addition, Bacardi aims to eliminate landfill waste at all of its production sites by 2022.
To learn more about Bacardi Limited and its “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future” environmental initiative for sourcing, packaging and operational efficiencies across the entire Bacardi family of premium spirits brands, visit www.BacardiLimited.com/good-spirited.
About Bacardi Limited
Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, produces and markets internationally recognized spirits and wines. The Bacardi brand portfolio comprises more than 200 brands and labels, including BACARDÍ® rum, the world’s best-selling and most-awarded rum, as well as the world’s most-awarded spirit; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world’s leading super-premium vodka; DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, the world’s most-awarded blended Scotch; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top-valued and fastest-growing premium gin in the world; MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines, the world’s leading vermouth and the world’s favorite Italian sparkling wines; CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, one of the most popular premium tequilas in Mexico and the United States; and other leading and emerging brands including WILLIAM LAWSON’S®, the fastest-growing global Scotch whisky brand; ERISTOFF® vodka, one of the fastest-growing vodka brands in the world; and ST-GERMAIN®, a super-premium elderflower liqueur.
Founded 152 years ago in Santiago de Cuba on February 4, 1862, family-owned Bacardi manufactures its brands at 29 facilities and sells in more than 160 countries. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited. www.BacardiLimited.com.