Bacardi was founded on 4 February 1862 with the purchase of a distillery in Santiago de Cuba by Don Facundi Bacardi Masso, a wine merchant originally from Sitges in Spain who had emigrated to Cuba in the early 19th century. The distillery’‘s famous symbol was chosen by Doña Amalia Bacardí, who had found a colony of fruit bats living in the distillery, traditionally considered a symbol of good luck and family unity. Business prospered, despite the exile of Facundo’‘s son, Emilio Bacardí, who fought against Spain in the Cuban War of Independence in the late 19th century. He was eventually named Mayor of Santiago de Cuba in 1899. Prohibition was to Bacardí’‘s benefit, as boatloads of American tourists came to quench their thirst in Cuba, and the company began developing abroad under the impetus of Emilio’‘s step-brother Enrique Schueg. In the 1930s, Bacardí built a new distillery in Porto Rico, in the United States. Following the Cuban Revolution and with Fidel Castro now in power, Bacardí’‘s property in Cuba was confiscated by the new regime as, although supporters of the revolution, they opposed the regime’‘s policies. This led to the family’‘s exile, although, as they were already established outside of Cuba, in Porto Rico and Mexico, they were able to continue their business, with it later going on to become one of the most popular rum brands in the world. As well as rum, the group also owns a large number of other spirits brands.
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