As it happened, our Puerto Rican vacation accomodations were only about a 20 minute drive to the island’s Bacardi Distillery near Catano. How could we refuse?
The Bacardi folks were gracious hosts and greeted us at their open-air pavilion where we registered for a free tour and were each given two tickets for sample beverages made from the 100,000 gallons of rum they produce daily.
If you’re wondering about the shape of the pavilion, it is made to look like a bat. And if you look closely you will see two other bats in this photo:
one on the building to the right,
and another on the ground. At this point in the tour, we were still in the dark about the bats, but never-the-less, were enjoying our first beverage, sitting at a table under the pavilion while a nice breeze blew in from the shoreline just beyond.
When our time arrived, we boarded a trolley for the tour and passed yet another sculpture of a bat.
We arrived at a museum where the tour guide finally shed a light on the bats. Apparently when the first Bacardi started making rum in Havanna, his wife was looking for an icon for the brand. The old warehouse they used for their operation was evidently occupied by several bats who came flying out. Thus was born the bat on the label.
Quite honestly, I was a little disappointed with the tour. They basically just took us through a small museum they had built for this purpose with a few displays and a movie or two. We were not privy to the actual operation. The winery tours we had been on out in California and in Tuscany, as well as the more recent Woodford Reserve tour on Kentucky’s bourbon trail were all more interesting, especially for two have-been chemical engineers who just can’t get enough of batch processes and distillation columns.
But the rum was good.
And at the gift store following the tour, we got what we came for, which went a long way in comforting us while we were hunkered down in our room later in the week as Isaac began his course through the Carribean and past Puerto Rico.
When I got home I took a close look at the label on the white rum I had been trying out mojito recipes with in preparation for our Carribean trip, and also on the bottle of Bacardi 151 rum—I have no clue where that came from. And sure enough, a bat graced each label, right there, center front.
Yet another lesson in observation skills, or lack there of.
When we left Bacardi we drove just a few minutes to the ferry where we took our observation skills and a 7-minute ride over to Old San Juan. More later.
See more posts about Puerto Rico.