The Early Years

In the beautiful port city of Santiago de Cuba, a small family enterprise purchases a distillery and revolutionizes rum-making on February 4, 1862.

The first samples of a smooth, light-bodied spirit - what the world now knows as BACARDÍ premium rum - originated from a humble tin-roof distillery with bats in the rafters.

The unique, light balance of BACARDÍ rum inspired simple, thirst-quenching mixers to combat the Caribbean heat. An American engineer working in Cuba invented the BACARDÍ Daiquiri in 1898. He offered it as a refreshing treat for his copper-mining crews, using fresh-squeezed local lime juice, sugar, shaved ice and BACARDÍ Superior rum.

In 1900, American soldiers celebrating victory after the Spanish-American War requested their Coca-Cola® be mixed with BACARDÍ rum. They toasted to a free Cuba, introducing the Original Cuba Libre.

These and other popular BACARDÍ rum cocktails helped the Company flourish. In 1910, Bacardi became Cuba’s first multinational company, opening a facility in Barcelona, Spain and, soon after, another in New York City.

By the 1930s, Bacardi owned facilities in Mexico and Cataño, Puerto Rico — now the largest premium rum distillery in the world.

Prohibition & Innovation

Bacardi turns challenge into opportunity

When the U.S. Congress banned the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol in 1920 the Company had to shutter its New York bottling plant.

But Bacardi did not view Prohibition as defeat. Instead, it kicked off an innovative campaign promoting Cuba as an enticing, tropical island escape from the drinking restrictions back in the USA.

Tantalizing postcards illustrating the allure of Havana nightlife and BACARDÍ rum cocktails were mailed out. And a major airline ad encouraged U.S. customers to "Fly to Cuba and Bathe in BACARDÍ rum."

The strategy paid off. American tourists flocked to the lively Havana bar scene. One of Cuba’s first skyscrapers, Edificio Bacardí, opened its elegant black-and-gold art deco bar to celebrities,entertainers and even the Spanish royal family.

As the family and Company name became more prominent, protecting it was a matter of honor, pride and survival. In 1936, the Company won a landmark lawsuit against New York bars that were substituting other rum to make BACARDÍ cocktails. A State Supreme Court ruled a BACARDÍ cocktail must be made with BACARDÍ. Today, when a customer orders, for example, a BACARDÍ Piña Colada, by law, it must be served only with BACARDÍ rum.

Forced out of its homeland, Bacardi courageously carries on.

On October 14, 1960, revolutionary government forces illegally confiscated all Company assets in Cuba - a devastating heartache for a business just shy of its 100th anniversary. Soon after, El Coco, the coconut palm - planted 98 years prior outside the Santiago de Cuba distillery - withered and died.

It is a dark and painful chapter - but also serves as a testament to the resilience, strength and spirit that define Bacardi.

The Company exhibited keen foresight, having already moved its trademarks and yeast strain out of Cuba for safekeeping. It also had an established multi-national presence and continued operations from several other countries.

These bold decisions ensured the survival - and future success - of the Company and BACARDÍ rum.

Bacardi Limited & Acquisition

Bacardi surges ahead as the top-seller of premium rums - and the world’s leading spirits.

Shortly after the Cuban Revolution, Bacardi established a base in Bermuda. This strategic move served as a geographical bridge between Europe, where Bacardi targeted growth, and the U.S., where it was already established. The Company then began a period of spectacular achievement.

For more than 130 years, Bacardi was a one-brand company, specializing in the world’s best-selling premium rums. Then the Company dramatically broadened its scope across the spirits industry, becoming the largest privately held spirits company in the world.

When Bacardi purchased the MARTINI & ROSSI group in 1993, the Company doubled in size, added brands and secured powerful distribution channels overseas. More successful acquisitions followed, including DEWAR’S Blended Scotch whisky, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, GREY GOOSE vodka, PATRÓN tequila and CAZADORES 100% blue agave tequila.

Surpassing 150 years, the vibrant Bacardi journey of innovation, perseverance and success moves ahead.

Visit any bar, club or restaurant - almost anywhere in the world - and the Bacardi stamp on the spirits industry is crystal clear.

Legendary BACARDÍ rum cocktails are more popular than ever. More than 6 million Original BACARDÍ Cuba Libre cocktails are enjoyed every day around the world.

From humble beginnings in Santiago de Cuba, Bacardi created the first mixable rum, launched an entire cocktail culture and emerged as the world’s largest privately held spirits company.

The Bacardi culture embraces a bold entrepreneurial spirit, valuing success but also rising up to challenges. Our history is etched against the backdrop of war, earthquakes, epidemic disease, U.S. Prohibition, the Cuban Revolution and illegal confiscation of our Cuban assets.

Bacardi leaders consistently overcame adversities to emerge stronger, gradually positioning the Company as a successful, multinational leader across the global spirits industry.

Today, we are poised to deliver the best 10 years at Bacardi with a strategy that has the consumer at the heart of everything we do. Our people are guided by a culture of 3 Fs: Fearless, Family, and Founders. We encourage disruptive thinking, just like our Founder Don Facundo had when he revolutionized the industry; each employee runs the Company as if it were his or her own; and we treat each other like family. We are about bringing people together to celebrate moments that matter, one drink at a time. As a family-owned company for 158 years, we are in this business for the long run.