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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Feb. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Family-owned Bacardi Limited officially marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Company and its iconic BACARDI® rum brand on February 4 with activities around the world honoring the world's favorite rum brand. The Company is celebrating its spectacular growth from a small distillery founded by Don Facundo Bacardi Masso in Santiago de Cuba in 1862 to what is now the world's largest privately-owned spirits company.
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Consumers around the world celebrate with classic, great tasting BACARDI rum cocktails at one-of-a-kind birthday parties and other BACARDI-themed events while the Bacardi family marks this historic milestone with its largest reunion ever. As part of its yearlong anniversary celebration, Bacardi launches themed promotions, opens a historical exhibition in Italy, rolls out a $2,000 limited-edition super-premium blend from the Bacardi family Maestros de Ron (Master Blenders) and accepts proclamations from governments declaring the day "Bacardi Day."
"This is an extraordinary milestone to celebrate as the passion and entrepreneurial spirit shown by my great-great grandfather in Santiago de Cuba a century and a half ago gave birth to exceptional rum that changed the spirits industry forever. Every day I'm inspired by his achievements and am proud to carry on his legacy as chairman of the Company he established on February 4, 1862, in Santiago de Cuba," says Facundo L. Bacardi, Chairman of Bacardi Limited and fifth generation family member. "The fact that our family name is on every bottle of BACARDI rum is a constant reminder of a deep-seated commitment to deliver products of exceptional quality for the best tasting cocktails. Since the creation of BACARDI rum 150 years ago, some 365 billion BACARDI cocktails have been enjoyed worldwide."
BACARDI Parties around the World
150th anniversary celebrations featuring award-winning musical talent and top celebrities are giving consumers around the world the chance to party with BACARDI and enjoy legendary BACARDI rum cocktails. Today, Rolling Stone® magazine hosts the must-attend "BACARDI Bash: 150 Years Rocking the Party" in Indianapolis where performances from LMFAO, Lupe Fiasco, Cobra Starship and Gym Class Heroes make this one of the hottest tickets the weekend of the "big game" -- the most anticipated professional football championship game in the U.S. The festivities continue throughout 2012 as Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East host their own BACARDI 150th celebrations.
Bacardi kicked-off star-studded BACARDI 150th birthday parties for consumers from Berlin to Miami with celebrities and VIPs. Magazine publisher Conde Nast also hosted a commemorative event for BACARDI rum in New York. Celebrity Cruises® marks the milestone with a party aboard the Celebrity Summit® as it departs February 4 from Puerto Rico, home to the largest BACARDI rum distillery in the world.
The Largest Bacardi Family Reunion Ever
Nearly 600 members of the Bacardi family from around the world gathered in Puerto Rico to celebrate the 150th anniversary at their largest reunion ever. Activities included a commemorative celebration featuring a family photo of all eight generations of the Bacardi family and the unveiling of a bust of Bacardi founder Don Facundo Bacardi Masso by sculptor and family member Helena Bacardi that will take permanent residence on the Bacardi campus in Puerto Rico. Bacardi Limited Chairman and great-great grandson of Company founder, Facundo L. Bacardi, led other family members in the planting of a coconut palm to commemorate the original "el coco" that stood at the entrance of the first Bacardi distillery in Cuba and has long symbolized the Bacardi family's perseverance over adversity. Puerto Rico is also home to the Casa Bacardi Visitor Center, the second most-visited venue in Puerto Rico, drawing more than 230,000 visitors a year to learn about the rich history and unique production of BACARDI rums.
"It is exceptional for a family-owned company to survive 150 years, let alone thrive," said Seamus McBride, CEO of Bacardi Limited. "The fact that Bacardi has grown into the third-largest global spirits company is truly something to celebrate."
Official Founding Day of February 4 Recognized as "Bacardi Day"
At the family reunion, Puerto Rico Governor Luis G. Fortuno presented Bacardi with a proclamation declaring February 4 "Bacardi Day" in acknowledgement of the Company's key role in the island's economy. Other proclamations, resolutions and official letters recognizing the 150th anniversary of BACARDI rum include congratulatory letters from the Bermuda Ministry of Development and Tourism, where Bacardi Limited is headquartered; and Florida Governor Rick Scott; as well as proclamations from Miami-Dade County; the City of Coral Gables, where Bacardi Americas is headquartered; and a United States Senate proclamation by Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio; U.S. House Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's statement for the Congressional Record; a Florida Senate resolution introduced by Senator Miguel de la Portilla and approved by the Florida Senate; and a Florida House resolution introduced by Representative Erik Fresen.
By visiting the BACARDI Facebook page, consumers of legal drinking age in select markets can vie for tickets to upcoming BACARDI 150th birthday parties and BACARDI party crates filled with all the ingredients to host their own unforgettable gatherings. In select markets, consumers can also win or purchase commemorative BACARDI glassware, specialty packs and apparel featuring vintage brand advertisements and/or designs by artists of Cuban heritage.
The Ultimate BACARDI Factory
On February 11 at 8 p.m. ET, National Geographic Channel's "Ultimate Factories" program will take viewers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico on a tour to see how BACARDI rum is made. The program is slated to air in the "Megafactories" series in Canada March 17; Italy March 18; Australia/New Zealand March 27; UK/Latin America March 29; Southeast Asia April 5; Spain/Portugal May 28; Norway/Sweden/Finland/Belgium and Netherlands/Luxemburg/Holland/Hungary May 31; Turkey June 1; Russia/Baltics/Romania and Greece/France June 5; and Germany June 21.
Ron BACARDI® de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII
Bacardi also marks its anniversary with displays at Miami International Airport, Puerto Rico's Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and other select international airports that roll-out a limited edition BACARDI blend honoring 150 years of Bacardi rum-making expertise and craftsmanship. Eight Bacardi family members, all former BACARDI Maestros de Ron, have combined their extraordinary talents to create a special BACARDI rum — Ron BACARDI de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII. A blend of the finest rums laid to rest in oak barrels over the last 20 years and finished in 60-year-old Cognac barrels, the vintage blend in a hand-blown crystal decanter housed in a leather case retails for US$2,000. Only 400 decanters are available for purchase at select airports and premium retail establishments.
On February 20, BACARDI will shake things up with a special 150th anniversary edition of its Legacy Cocktail Competition, drawing top mixologists from more than 25 countries to the finals in Puerto Rico.
Bacardi Heritage on Display at Museo dell'Automobile di Torino
An exhibit showcasing the 150 years of heritage and craftsmanship of BACARDI rum opens in Turin, Italy, at the famous Museo dell'Automobile di Torino (Automobile Museum of Turin). Throughout February, museum patrons of legal drinking age can immerse themselves in a visual and narrative journey of Bacardi the company, BACARDI rum and their pioneering roles in cocktail history.
Year of the Bat
Bacardi is proud to support Bat Conservation International in raising public awareness for bats as part of its "Year of the Bat" campaign. A 15-second advertisement describing the many environmental and economic benefits of bats airs on the CBS JumboTron in New York City's Times Square until the end of March. With one of the most recognizable logos in the world featuring a bat, Bacardi has believed in the power of bats for 150 years.
Bacardi support for bats goes back to its founding in 1862 when Dona Amalia, the founder's wife, spotted a colony of fruit bats in the rafters of the Bacardi distillery in Cuba. In Spain, where Don Facundo emigrated from, and with the native Taino Indians in Cuba, bats symbolized good health, family unity and good fortune, so the Bacardi founder made sure the bats remained in the distillery and identified with his new rum. The Bacardi creation became known by the people as el Ron del Murcielago or "the Rum of the Bat." Today, the Bacardi Bat Device still proudly graces every bottle of BACARDI rum. The Bacardi family's long-term involvement with bat research, education and conservation is also reflected in the work of the non-profit Lubee Bat Conservancy to protect biological diversity through the conservation of fruit bats and their habitats.
Bacardi 150th Heritage
After years of experimenting, Don Facundo revolutionized the spirits industry with the smooth, light-bodied spirit he created, as opposed to the harsh "fire water" of the time. He used techniques never before used in rum-making including using high quality blackstrap sugarcane molasses, isolating a special strain of yeast (still used today) for controlled fermentation, filtering multiple times, mellowing his rums in American white oak barrels, and then blending them to create the perfect taste of BACARDI rum. This new mixable spirit helped usher in a cocktail culture that thrives today. The artful BACARDI Maestros de Ron continue today to follow the same exacting and artful standards set forth by Don Facundo.
To learn about Bacardi heritage, including why a signature graces every bottle of BACARDI rum or how Bacardi became Cuba's first multinational company, visit the special 150th anniversary section at www.BacardiLimited.com.
Media are invited to register to receive information on additional Bacardi 150th anniversary activities, as well as access multimedia assets such as logos, images, advertisements, video and audio files, interviews, timelines and more via www.BacardiMediaCentre.com.
About Bacardi Limited
Bacardi Limited, the largest privately-held spirits company in the world, produces and markets internationally-recognized spirits and wines. Its brand portfolio comprises more than 200 brands and labels, including BACARDI® rum, the world's best-selling and most-awarded rum; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world's leading super-premium vodka; DEWAR'S® Blended Scotch whisky, the top-selling blended Scotch whisky in the U.S.; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top-valued and fastest-growing premium gin in the world; MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines, the world's leading vermouth; CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, the number-one premium tequila in Mexico and a top-selling premium tequila in the United States; ERISTOFF® vodka, one of the fastest-growing vodka brands in the world; and other leading and emerging brands.
Founded on February 4, 1862, and family-owned for the past seven generations, Bacardi now employs nearly 6,000 people, manufactures its brands at 27 facilities in 16 markets on four continents, and sells in more than 150 countries. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.