Bacardi has been owned and run by seven generations of the Bacardí family for more than 152 years. The Company’s success and longevity is a tribute to the legacy of resilience, determination and business acumen shown by the descendants of founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó and his wife, Dona Amalia. Many have contributed to Bacardi Limited’s phenomenal success; following are just a few of their accomplishments.
The founder of the Bacardí rum dynasty, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, emigrated from Spain in 1830 to the Spanish colonial town of Santiago de Cuba. After his merchant business was bankrupted following a series of earthquakes and a cholera epidemic in 1852, Don Facundo turned his entrepreneurial skills to crafting a more elegant rum than the rough aguardiente of the region. In 1862, he and a French distiller named José León Bouteiller created the world’s first light-bodied, mixable rum by isolating a strain of yeast from local sugarcane fields, filtering it through charcoal made from Cuban hardwood and coconut shells, and aging it in white oak barrels. The refined white rum was a hit, and by 1888 BACARDÍ rum had been appointed “Purveyors to the Royal Spanish Household.”
Born in 1822, Lucia Victoria Moreau (called by her family name, “Amalia”) met wine merchant Don Facundo Bacardí Massó in 1840, and they were married in Santiago’s Cathedral. According to family lore, Amalia provided the idea of branding the rum with the now iconic bat image due to the many fruit bats that nested in the rafters of the distillery. BACARDÍ rum became known as “el Ron del Murciélago,” or “Rum of the Bat.”
The eldest son of Don Facundo and Amalia was made president of the company when his father retired in 1877. Emilio juggled his responsibilities to the family business with a devotion to political causes that benefited his beloved Cuba. When Cuban rebels struggled for independence from Spain, Emilio fought with them, and was consequently imprisoned twice and later exiled. While serving as mayor of Santiago de Cuba, Emilio presided over the first international expansion of Bacardí y Compañía by opening bottling facilities in Spain in 1910 and in the United States in 1915.
Facundo Bacardí Moreau
When Don Facundo retired in 1877, he entrusted Facundo with the secret formula for BACARDÍ rum, and the younger man became responsible for the daily running of the distillery. He continued his father’s experimentation and became a master distiller himself. While his brother Emilio was in prison and in exile, Facundo and his brother-in-law Enrique Schueg managed the company.
Henri (Don Enrique) Schueg
Enrique Schueg is largely credited for the brilliant Prohibition-era marketing campaign that lured Americans to the new Bacardi Building in Havana. His business acumen positioned “Cuba as the home of rum, and BACARDÍ as the king of rums.” He presided over international expansion to Mexico in 1931, to Puerto Rico in 1936, and to the United States in 1944.
José “Pepin” Bosch
Schueg’s son-in-law became the fourth president of Compañía ‘Ron Bacardi,’ S.A. in 1944, and he took a number of precautionary measures that later saved the company from ruin. When the government seized all of the Bacardi Cuban assets in October of 1960, Bosch had already secured trademarks, patents, and proprietary formulas to the Bahamas, an act of foresight which allowed the organization to ultimately recover from the devastating setback.
The great-grandson of Don Facundo, Edwin Nielsen, helped transition the Company after its Cuban assets were confiscated without compensation in Cuba. It was during his time as president that BACARDÍ rum climbed to the number one premium spirits spot in the United States, and in the world one year later.
Under Manuel Cutillas, great-great grandson of Don Facundo, the Bacardi international companies in Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Bahamas, and the United States were consolidated under Bacardi Limited in 1992. He then took the company to a globally-competitive level, diversifying with the acquisition of several premium spirits brands and making Bacardi Limited the largest privately-held spirits company in the world.
A fifth-generation family member, Facundo L. Bacardi has been Chairman of the Board since 2005. He joined the company in his 20s and rose to prominence, taking a major role in the acquisitions of MARTINI in 1992, and then GREY GOOSE vodka in 2004. Under his leadership, the Company has become the top international spirits company in Russia, as well as making BACARDÍ rum one of the top-selling white spirits brand in India.