Fresh new hands must indicate different paths. Like those who endeavor to master this exercise of virtue. Cuba Ron S.A. preserves more than a few stories where the love of creating and doing it well is a ritual. Jean Travieso, 39, formerly cooper at the Santa Cruz Rum Factory and current Head of Block of Aging, has already emerged with major steps in the field of rum production. Since 2004, he began his own journey through the world of the essences and the most authentic flavors together with his colleagues and mentors in the manufacturing facilities.
How has the transition been since you joined the Corporation until your current position?
“I was not yet working in the factory when I heard about the call to take the cooper course. I spent six months in it, I learned and I really liked the subject and I saw it as a job that I would do with pleasure. Some time later I was called to join them and I had the opportunity to apply everything I learned working in the cooperage workshop. I was selected and participated in a corporate cooperage competition where I obtained first place. After that I moved to work directly in the aging warehouses where I learned to be what I am today. At the moment I am the head of four aging warehouses and six operators. In my work area we make extractions, replenishments of rums and spirits and simple repairs to the barrels. I feel that what I do becomes a good guarantee afterwards for the future of our Corporation ”.
Could being a cooper be called art?
“I like being a cooper because it is an artisan job. It is manual work where all kind of barrel breakages are checked and classified, whether the repair operation is general or simple. This job takes dedication and a lot of effort because we all need to work as a team in order not to lose the barrel, even if it has been used for many years; this is a reason why it is called an art and it must be done with the highest quality. Thanks to these barrels, the essences of Cuban light rum are preserved”.
What challenges do you face during your work routines?
“As a facility manager I have a great responsibility, the operators are divided in two groups to carry out the replenishments and extractions, in addition, the barrels must be evaluated if they are in the best shape, apply the corresponding repairs, because they will face the process of aging. The entire production process includes checking the losses because that also determines the performance, it is a daily control to be up to date. We always try to keep everything in good condition, check the hygiene of the area, the quality of the product, the quality of the barrel. All this processes must be done everyday. It is a very big challenge, but enjoyable and I have to be present with both technical and artisan groups. It is necessary to have a work team that understands the content, importance and value of the performance with the barrels, that is aware of the number of extractions and replacements; it it is crucial to make a bigger effort and this is key to organize ourselves, exploit the working hours , to guarantee that our barrels are in good condition, every trade entails and leads to a challenge, the key will then be to continue forward and be better every day ”.
How has it been working at the Santa Cruz Rum Factory, one of the spaces that represents Cuba Ron as a manufacturing unit?
“Working in the Santa Cruz rum factory has been a challenge and a special job, because it is the largest rum factory in Cuba, with many barrels and liquids. From this perspective we contribute to development, to daily improvements, because many barrels of many ages are recovered and they are guaranteed to be filled with the bases of rums in order to increase new productions in the future ”.
In times of pandemic, how is distributed the sector where you work?
“Our factory has done the job well. We have met the safety requirements, such as hand hygiene, body temperature when entering the factory, personal distancing, but we have also presented difficulties with isolated workers and it has been necessary to move some workers to support other areas, for example, the staff of my department assisted the bottling tasks to keep production going. Even so, our factory has not stopped, we gradually continue to grow”.