Bacardi is one of the world’s most iconic drinks brands and recently launched two new additions to their rum family. A 6th generation Bacardi family member, Adolfo Comas-Bacardi was recently in Dublin to officially launch the new liquids.
We got the chance to chat to Adolfo about the new rums and some of the more interesting stories prevalent in the companies rich and varied history.
A veteran of over 18 years service at Bacardi Brown Forman Brands, Adolfo has worked in all areas of the business from sales and brand management to the brand’s Advocacy Team.
Describe your role at Bacardi?
I’m the trade brand ambassador for Bacardi so I do all their internal sales development. Also, as part of the Bacardi family, I get to do all the fun stuff like doing product launches and events, which is quite nice. I’ve been here 18 years and I love it.
It’s a passion more than anything else and it’s a job I don’t take lightly. We work hard but we also play hard so it’s great. I think that’s true for everyone who works at Bacardi because most people feel like they’re part of the family and I think it really comes across in everything we do.
What makes Bacardi stand out from other drinks brands?
While that’s a hard question to answer, I think it’s our mentality that sets us apart. There are 60 odd family members that work around the globe with Bacardi, but we really do give our employees a feeling of ownership as well. We’re all part of ‘Le Grande Familie Bacardi’ as we say.
It’s not just employees but also the guys that sell our brands in bars. Those guys are helping to maintain the legacy and what I think sets us apart is that mentality that it’s not my company, it’s my children’s and I’m looking after it for them, which I think is different to many other companies.
And we also have the advantage of time. We take the time to get the liquid right and give people time to discover the brand and try the brand and we grow our brand that way. It’s definitely a different mentality to ‘sell a lot, sell quick’.
Bacardi has such a rich and varied history. Is there a particular moment in your family’s past that really stands out for you?
The story of Bacardi reads like a Gabriel García Márquez novel, there’s destruction, there’s colour, there’s pirates, there’s everything. To pin it down to one moment is difficult, but my favourite part is probably something my grandmother used to say.
Two years after we left Cuba in 1960, we celebrated the company’s 100th anniversary. There was a gathering of the family in New York to celebrate and she used to say that the Bacardi story really could have ended there. We were struggling financially and we had lost our assets and didn’t know if we could survive. But the family decided that we needed to pull together to survive and that’s where the family unity really comes through.
They all pulled together to try and start to grow our business and the testament to that is that by 1970, we went from being this brand that was almost extinct to being the number one selling spirit in the United States and the following year, the world. It was a real turning point and shows real dedication to hard work, family and looking after one man’s dream.
Can you tell me about the two new Bacardi range?
I’m really excited about the new cuatro rum because it’s the first proper rum launch we’ve done in about ten years. What’s exciting me is that it’s a liquid for a new generation of rum drinkers. The last product launch we really did was over a decade ago, so to be able to come back and say that this is a new liquid, it’s not something we’ve just created. It’s something that’s come off the back of 156 years of mastery of rum.
And then the 8 year old is the re-pack design of that and the liquid is staying the same. It’s a good transition liquid for those wanting to transition from gin and whiskey to rum. So when you’re young and you drink mojitos, you can now transition to the 4-year-old as your palate matures and develops and finally then, the 8-year-old.
I think the new range is coming in at the right time and I believe there’s a movement from gin to rum. We’re in a good position to lead the conversation on rum, as ours is still tasted and blended by hand.
If we can help the category grow, that’s great. To just be part of the rum movement is very exciting, not just for us but for all of the rums around the world. There’s a whole movement to different styles and it’s great to be part of. Rum brings people together and we are delighted to be part of this.
Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.
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