How does the corporation celebrate International Rum Day? Corporation Cuba Ron S.A. celebrates International Rum Day with the joy of representing Cuban light rum worldwide, a symbol of the most authentic cultural traditions that identify our nation.
This corporation also celebrates it with the strengths achieved throughout all these years of work, allowing us today to position ourselves among the leading producers and marketers of spirits worldwide. We also count on the fundamental support of our commercial partners and the knowledge of the Masters that constitutes the Cuban Light Rum Masters Movement.
This date is also a reminder of how far we have reached and a motivation for proposing new goals, that undoubtedly, will make us work even harder to maintain what we have achieved and to go one step further each time. We would like to thank the thousands of workers who today conform the great family of this corporation, and who have made our industries and Cuban light rum part of their hearts, devoting themselves to this work with commitment but also with national pride.
What place does rum occupy in the national identity?
Rum is a symbol of Cuban culture, as it is one of Cuba’s favorite drinks to be enjoyed either straight or in cocktails. It has been present in Cuban history and tradition for more than 150 years accompanying the moments of joy, celebration, as well as in sadness and pain. It has been a source of inspiration for poets, writers and artists in general, even intellectuals who nurtured patriotic thoughts and culture. Rum runs through the veins of all Cubans as an indissoluble part of their identity and represents the cheerful, hospitable, multicolored Cuban character.
Since its origins, it has been closely linked to all the social and historical stages of our people. From a sensorial point of view rum is perceived warm and long similar to the Cuban people temper which was conceived as a result of the mixture of races and origins. This is the reason why is important to educate people about the Cuban rum history as a cultural and historical expression.
Cuban rum (and sugarcane spirit in quality of rum´s mother product) is deeply rooted in the popular imagination. It is part of myths, but also of realities. It is used in Afro-Cuban religious ceremonies and in all kind of festivities.
Rum is not consumed from a bottle without pouring the quota of the Gods on the floor first. It is used in the preparation of remedies, syrups and medicines for the cure of diseases. This last is an aspect with a marked traditional line. It was present in our wars of independence being given to the soldiers in rations. Its consumption was intended to strengthen the body and spirit. It was also used to heal wounds.
Undoubtedly, it has a long tradition both in its production as in the drinking habits of Cubans. National cocktails were developed from it. Also has a wide national and international diffusion and constitutes, in fact, another tradition within Cuban gastronomy. It is also one of the country’s main export products.
Cuban rum and Habano are the country´s ambassadors in any scenario. There is not a more elegant and ideal gift than a bottle of Cuban rum delivered with the charisma that characterizes its people. We could not move forward in the production of new rums if we do not preserve the legacy of previous generations.
What products currently make up Cuba Ron’s product portfolio?
The product portfolio marketed by Cuba Ron S.A. covers several categories within spirits. In the domestic market we promote the Cubay brand with eight assortments ranging from the traditional Carta Blanca to extra old, as well as extra aged rums, carriers of national and international awards, including a wide range of 12 Cubay liqueurs for the development of cocktails.
Appointed mainly to the tourism sector, the Perla del Norte and Santa del Norte brands, are distributed with the three usual assortments. Also recognized by the market are Isla del Tesoro, Aguardiente Sao Can, Elixir Cubay 33 and the Soroa range of wines.
We are also distributors, in the national territory, of the Santiago de Cuba brand. Regarding the international market, we commercialize the brands Cubay, Perla del Norte, Isla del Tesoro, Kawama, Sao Can and the Eminente brand under the International Economic Partnership Contract.
It becomes essential to mention the Cuban Rum Masters whose wisdom is considered National Heritage at the time they are candidates to be included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
How much does this unique, traditional knowledge, inherited from generation to generation, contribute to the authenticity of Cuban rum?
During the first years of the 19th century, attempts were made to improve the quality of Cuban spirits and rums as a result of the increase in exports, mainly to Spain. Many attempts and modifications were made by the producers at that time, to achieve a more refined rum that would break away from the traditional style of making rum in the Caribbean. These last were considered as heavy rums due to the way the fermentation and distillation processes were carried out. In 1862, during an exhibition´s program prepared by the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country, it was offered a medal as an award for the studies on the manufacture of spirits. On those days a superior quality rum was already being produced in Santiago de Cuba: a light, transparent product, free of undesirable odors. This is why 1862 marked the beginning of the production of Cuban light rum with its own sensorial characteristics that demonstrate its origin in the sugar cane spirit, however differently elaborated.
The rum production in this period was also extended geographically to the central and western areas of Cuba incorporating more producers who contributed with their experience to the improvement and refinement of this light rum.
All this empirical knowledge was transmitted generationally among the ancestors of the current Cuban Rum Masters. Therein lies its importance: zeal, discipline, rigour in the work, led to the creation of a different rum in aroma and flavor with an unmistakable imprint. Its international recognition dates back to 1876 when it was first taken to participate in an International Exposition in Philadelphia, United States, a condition that lasts until today.
This knowledge is our greatest legacy: an uninterrupted chain that imprints this authenticity seal and turns it into a cultural and identity element of our nation. It is the role of the masters who, with their vocation and dedication, preserve all this accumulated experience at the time they improve it and transmit it, without altering its essence and maintaining the essential balance between the new and the traditional.
The team of highly qualified Cuban rum masters is one of the greatest strengths of Cuba Ron and of the country today. The know how inherited by the rum Masters provides Cuban rum with a high added value ranging from the protection of aging cellars, the knowledge of their contents and characteristics as well as the history of each barrel, to know which blends produce a certain appearance, aroma, flavor and texture. This wisdom combines science, tradition, innovation and sensitivity, together with the particularity that distinguishes each Master in the defense and interpretation of Cuban rum making them unique.
The fact this knowledge is being transmitted from generation to generation turns the know how into culture. At the time the receivers of this wisdom add new elements to the learned bases, turning it into a complex and unique process. Similar to a spiral of uninterrupted development that continually reinforces its authenticity as a genuinely Cuban product.
Cocktails are another of the areas that distinguish the quality of Cuban rum and have contributed to its worldwide fame. What is its importance?
Going back in history, in the years surrounding the First World War (1914-1918), the sugar industry and its derivatives started developing, increasing rum and liquor exports and tourism. All this led to the boom of bars that were very popular within U.S. Marines artists, politicians. This brought as consequence the incorporation of new cocktails made with Cuban rums. In 1915, the first Bartender’s Manual by Juan B. Escalante was published with more than 265 recipes for cocktails. Escalante was published in 1915 with more than 265 recipes.
In 1924, the Association of Cuban Bartenders was founded, maintaining an indissoluble link with rum production to this day. The work done by Cuban bartenders throughout all these years made possible to spread part of the Cuban rum culture inside and outside our country. The cocktail industry has advanced and has kept in tune with international trends, keeping its roots. Initially white rums were preferably used for cocktails. Aged rums and even aged cocktails have been incorporated showing creativity and beauty in their presentations but always prevailing the use of our legitimate rums.
Cocktails have played an essential role in the development of Cuban rum, and it is impossible to talk about Cuban rum if we do not remember who has been number one in consumers´ preference. Cuba is also the birthplace of those three great cocktails, Mojito, Daiquiri and Cuba Libre, which have traveled the world and whose flavors are inextricably associated with Cuban rum.
The incomparable sensory properties of Cuban rum give Cuban cocktails characteristics that cannot be achieved with rums of non-Cuban origin. Therefore, it is a pairing that is inextricably linked.
Cuban bartenders have been seriously prepared. Spaces have been created for their training. They have demonstrated their quality and cultural commitment in various national and international competitions.
The growing performance and recognition of the work of the Association of Bartenders as an important element in the Cuban rum culture is materialized in the recent declaration of the IBA where Cuba was officially declared the host of the World Cocktail Championship in 2022, an important meeting place for professionals in the industry.
Recently, products such as Cubay Extra Añejo 1870 and Eminente Reserva de Cuba were awarded.
How would you evaluate the current positioning of Cuban rum in the international market and especially in the Caribbean area where there is a strong rum tradition?
Cuban rum quality speaks by itself, having obtained awards from the International Taste and Quality Institute (ITQI) with two stars for Cubay Extra Añejo 1870 rum for its excellence, the Gold Medal at the China W&S Awards, the largest and most prestigious wine and spirits competition in the Asian nation, and the Silver Medal at the IWSC competition in the 6 to 10 years old category for Eminente Reserva 7 years old rum, representing the central region of the country. Cuban rum stands nowadays as an authentic and unique product, bringing a renewed complexity, imposing new standards and new challenges to the rest of the world’s rum producers and raising the profile of Cuban rum, its recognition and acceptance at the international level in the most exquisite scenarios, and opening the doors to new markets.