Stewart Gurr, Minister of Business Development & Tourism Wayne Furbert, and Séamus McBride enjoying an Original BACARDI Cuba Libre after the Bacardi 150th Anniversary congratulatory speech. *Photo supplied
Stewart Gurr, Minister of Business Development & Tourism Wayne Furbert, and Séamus McBride enjoying an Original BACARDI Cuba Libre after the Bacardi 150th Anniversary congratulatory speech. *Photo supplied
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What does the word ‘Bacardi’ mean to you?
“It means the wonderful, iconic brand BACARDI, which is available in almost every bar in the world. It means the company, which has a whole stable of market-leading brands. And it means the family, who still own the business after 150 years. Those are all very special things.”

Mystery, possibility and bringing people together — these are the characteristics of the BACARDI brand.

Reflecting on the 150-year history of the premium rum, Séamus McBride, President and CEO of Bacardi Limited, said: “Our legacy is one of survival, having survived floods, fires and hurricanes in Cuba since 1862, and then having to leave Cuba in 1960, when the revolutionary government seized the company’s assets.

“The family left the island penniless and bankrupt, but then proceeded to restart the company from the Caribbean and around the world.

“That’s one of the reasons why Bacardi has become so famous.”

Today, 19 family members are still involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

Mr McBride said: “BACARDI Rum is a brand of unique quality, and the key ingredient to many of the great cocktails of the world.

“Consumers think of BACARDI as something a little bit mysterious and which creates possibilities. It brings people together and is the basis of a great party.”

Mr. McBride was appointed President and CEO of Bacardi Limited in 2008, after 30 years experience in the consumer goods industry, including 23 years at Colgate-Palmolive.

Asked what sets Bacardi apart, Mr McBride said: “We feel Bacardi as a company is very special. We live with the values of Passion, Excellence, Trust and Caring, which come from the company’s heritage. Our employees live those values each and every day.

“We also have a commitment to the communities in which we work. This includes support for campaigns such as Elton John’s AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and Habitat for Humanity.

“We’ve been leading corporate responsibility initiatives right back to the 1930s in Mexico, when we asked people to drink responsibly.

“The BACARDI brand is underpinned by innovation. The famous BACARDI white rum was itself a launch of innovation, a new way to distil and filtrate the dark, thick rum which was so popular with sailors around the world.”

Mr. McBride said the launch of BACARDI OakHeart in 26 countries last year was a continuation of this spirit of innovation.

As Bacardi enters its next era, Mr McBride said the business would focus on brand consolidation.

“This is a very exciting time in the history of the company,” he said. “And we will continue doing what we’ve done so successfully for the past 150 years.

“We enjoy a portfolio of providence with our unique stable of leading brands.

“We see consolidation in terms of the brand-owner side and in the distributors who are our key partners in getting our products to market. We see that successful relationship continuing.

“We have also been extremely successful with acquisition, starting with Martini & Rossi,  which gave us a global footprint and huge presence in Europe.

“We have a fabulous and famous portfolio of leading brands but don’t yet have the perfect portfolio. There are gaps we would like to fill if the opportunity presented itself.

“We are also interested in launching new brands.”

Advancement in the BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China is also a key strategy.

“We see huge opportunities in emerging markets,” said Mr McBride.

“Brazil, Russia, India and China are the core markets we’re expanding in, and we’ve been investing in them for many years.”