Results 1-7of 7 Reviews
Los Angeles, California
January 10, 2007
From journal San Juan for Business
New York, New York
April 8, 2003
This is the largest of three distilleries belonging to perhaps the world’s most famous rum company, Bacardi. To get there, take the ferry from the ferry terminal in Old San Juan to Cataño for $.50 each way. It runs every 15 minutes and the ride across the bay is only about 10 minutes. Once you arrive, walk out of Cataño’s ferry terminal over to the building on the right. There will be several públicos (eight-passenger shared taxis) waiting to take you to the factory. You may have to wait for the van to fill up before the driver will leave, but use this time to negotiate the price (it shouldn’t be more than $3 per person). The público will take you through rundown neighborhoods that sadly contrast the brightly colored architecture of Old San Juan and the skyscrapers of Condado and Ocean Park.
Once you arrive at the Barcardi Factory, walk over to the tent (apparently, it’s abstractly shaped like a bat, but you can’t really tell from the ground). The tour is free, but you must get an admission ticket and, of course, your two complimentary drink tickets. The tour trolleys leave every half hour on the half hour. Be prepared for tedium as the large tour group scrambles on and off the tour trollies, up and down stairways, and through photo galleries. The few things you do learn, however, are interesting, like the fact that the cuba libre (rum, coke, and lime) was invented in Cuba by an American soldier, and the name of the daiquirí came from a miner who decided to try crushed ice, rum, and juice after a tiring day working in the Daiquirí mines. You also learn about the history of the Bacardi family, the distillation process, the qualities of various rums, and the bottling process. I found the bottling process to be the most interesting, but be advised that the bottling line closes at 4pm on weekdays and does not operate on Saturdays.
The trolley will take you back to the bat-shaped tent and you can have a look in the Bacardi store. They have Bacardi accessories and a good selection of many of the Bacardi rums at very cheap prices. However, they may not have all the types of rums available as some types are bottled in the other distilleries in the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. If you can’t find the type of rum you want in the Bacardi store, wait until you get to the duty-free stores in the airport-–you’ll find a better deal there than in the liquor stores of San Juan.
Finally, be sure to use your drink tickets and sample some of the rum drinks from the bar. There’s not much alcohol in them, but they’re free! When you’re finished, there will be públicos waiting in the parking lot to take you back to the Cataño ferry terminal.
From journal An Anti-Spring Break in San Juan
Brooklyn, New York
July 14, 2007
From journal The Rich Port in 5 Days (Puerto Rico)
Somewhere, South Carolina
December 21, 2004
From journal An Enchantment Week in Puerto Rico
Bayside, New York
December 12, 2001
The Bacardi distillery is huge; it emcompasses many other buildings besides manufacturing. When we arrive, we park next to tents which are going up for next week's arts and crafts festival which they sponsor once a year. Revenues from the fair go to charities. This tour is completely free, and you are given white tickets to enable you to board the tram that takes you from building to building. Orange tickets allow complimentary drinks mixed with Bacardi. The choices today were coke, fruit punch, 7 up and some other thing.
Our tour guide speaks English fluently. They are very conscious of security here, and are constantly counting heads and speaking into their walky-talkies.
The first sugar cane plantation in Puerto Rico is established in 1517. Harvesting starts in January by slave labor until it's abolished. Work is done in exchange for basic necessities, such as lodging and food. They are very strict about No pictures allowed inside any of the buildings. The Bacardi logo is a bat which had been suggested by the founder's wife, as the first building had fruit bats in it. Fruit bats are a sign of family unity and prosperity. This is now the 6th generation. They are processing 21 million cases per year and are exporting to 71 countries. The rum is also made in Mexico and the Bahamas, and the labels will say that.
On to the 5th floor where they have the rum gallery, they show off the "cuatro" which is the national musical instrument of Puerto Rico made of white oak. In the early 1990's they bought the Martini & Rossi brand and subsequently, acquired the Dewar's brand. They continue to be made in Italy and England respectively.
Different color rums are used for different flavor mixes. Bacardi 8 is the top of the line and is aged for 8 years. Bacardi Light outsells all other world rums. The 151 is flammable and not permitted on airplanes for that reason; it is 75 proof. Bacardi is made from molasses, yeast and water
. On to 2nd floor where they show the manufacture; we see a huge 50,000 gallon drum with a brownish gold liquid fomenting,- looks like some alien form.
There are 700 people employed at Bacardi/Puero Rico, and 7000 worldwide. The carbon dioxide which is collected post fermentation is sold to soda companies and people who make dry ice.
The drums for storing rum are made of white oak which is imported from Kentucky and Tennessee.
We then watched the bottling process from filling to putting in cases for shipment. Women do the quality control in various stages of the process. In the gift shop, we purchased a bottle of Tropico for $12.95, and which sold for $25 on Ashford Avenue in Condado. It's a fascinating story about a family business that grew to mammoth proportions.
From journal Puerto Rico - Isle in Style
December 26, 2008
From journal Puerto Rico
Raleigh, North Carolina
March 22, 2004
To get to Bacardi from Old San Juan, you just go to Pier #2 and take the ferry. I don't think there is any signage, or anyone telling you to do this. But, this is how you get there. The ferry from downtown San Juan is 50 cents per person, per way. And there might be a fee for the shuttle bus from the ferry to the factory; I think there is a shuttle bus. There should also be cabs there. It is too far to walk on vacation, about 1 1/2 miles. (Plus, the neighborhood is not that good).
Recommendation: Go and enjoy. You might want to buy some of the very special limited release 12-year-old they sell (hand-bottled, numbered, blue top).
From journal San Juan