Casa BACARDÍ is the largest rum distillery in the world. If you’re looking for things to do in Puerto Rico, a Bacardi tour is a great day trip from San Juan. You can learn about the history of Bacardi, do a rum tasting, and enjoy mojitos, piña coladas, and other rum based cocktails at their outdoor bar.
Distillery Tour at Casa BACARDÍ
What is Casa BACARDÍ
Casa BACARDÍ, also known as the Cathedral of Rum, is the world’s largest rum distillery. This location near San Juan produces around 85% of the Bacardi rum, with the remainder produced in distilleries in India and Mexico.
They offer several types of tours where you can learn about the history of Bacardi, do a rum tasting, or even take part in a mixology class. You can find tour descriptions and buy tickets on the Bacardi website listed above. Each tour comes with an introductory cocktail at their outdoor pavilion. You are welcome to purchase additional cocktails and hang out at this bar.
History of Bacardi Rum
Bacardi was founded in 1862 by Facundo Bacardi in Santiago de Cuba. This is the 2nd largest city in Cuba, after Havana and lies on the southeast part of the island. He was a Spanish wine merchant who had immigrated to Cuba. At the time, rum was a fairly cheap and low-quality alcohol. He began experimenting with rum distillation, which became known as Bacardi Rum. At the suggestion of Facunda’s wife, a bat graphic was added to the bottle to signify family unity, good health, and good fortune to her husband’s homeland of Spain. It also made this rum recognizable.
Sales grew and it became popular throughout Cuba. When Facundo Bacardi passed, his sons took over the company. The famous Cuba Libre and Daquiri cocktails were created in the 1890s, using only Bacardi rum. They even introduced the Cuban malt beer Hatuey.
Bacardi had expanded to Mexico, the United States, and opened a 2nd distillery in Puerto Rico (as a way of avoiding import taxes to the Unites States) by the time the Cuban Revolution began in the 1950s. The Cuban government under Fidel Castro confiscated all their assets in the country without any compensation, and the family fled the country. Luckily, the expansion outside of Cuba allowed them to eventually create a new headquarters in Bermuda, and production shifted to the distillery in Puerto Rico.
This Bacardi distillery outside San Juan, Puerto Rico is now the largest rum distillery in the world.
To answer the question “Is Bacardi Puerto Rican or Cuban?” Well, It’s both!
How to Get to the Bacardi Distillery from San Juan
The Bacardi rum distillery is located in Cataño, Puerto Rico. It makes for a great day trip from San Juan, as it is directly west of Old San Juan across the bay.
- Drive: You can figure this out. Just put Casa BACARDI into Google maps and follow the directions.
- Taxi or Uber: Taxis are available from the tourist zones, including all hotels and resorts
- Ferry: There is a ferry from the south side of Old San Juan that crosses the bay to Cataño. Ticket prices are 50 cents each way. Ferries run every 30 minutes, departing San Juan on the hour and departing Cataño on the half hour. Check website for full schedule and details. When you arrive at the Cataño pier you will find taxis for the two mile ride to Casa BACARDI. www.puertoricoferry.com