Esta página no está disponible en español.
THE MIAMI HERALD
Bacardi Opens Visitors Center
BY ELAINE WALKER
April 24, 2003
CATANO, Puerto Rico -Bacardi Rum now has a place to call home.
Almost 150 people, including Puerto Rico's secretary of state, came to celebrate the opening Wednesday of the new Casa Bacardi Visitor Center at the company's distillery just outside San Juan.
The interactive tourist attraction allows visitors to learn about the more than 140-year history of the Bacardi brand and the family behind the world's top-selling spirit.
Bacardi Ltd. spent about $8 million on the project, transforming what was previously warehouse space into a virtual museum.
The visitors center will ultimately replace a tour of the company's Puerto Rico manufacturing plant, which had been open to tourists.
Visitors travel through seven different rooms, going all the way back to a replica of the first still that founder Don Facundo purchased in 1862 in Cuba.
Along the way they learn the secrets of Bacardi's formula for making rum and get a chance to smell the difference between the various Bacardi products.
'This is more than a visitors' center, it's where our Bacardi soul rests,'' said Ruben Rodriguez, chairman and outgoing chief executive of Bacardi Ltd., the parent company of the far-flung liquor empire.
Puerto Rican government officials hailed the opening of the center and Bacardi's contribution to the island's economy. Bacardi contributes $250 million in annual tax revenue to Puerto Rico, the largest contribution of any corporate entity.
''Bacardi is one of the most important enterprises of Puerto Rico,'' said Ferdinand Mercado, Puerto Rico's secretary of state. 'One of the first things tourists ask when they come to Puerto Rico is, `Where is the Bacardi factory?' ''