Puerto Rico’s Ron del Barrilito Opens Visitor Center
Known locally as Barrilito, the rum has been handcrafted since 1880 using its original recipe. Its four iterations are: Ron del Barrilito Two Stars, which is aged for three to five years; Ron del Barrilito Three Stars, aged for six to 10 years; Ron del Barrilito Five Stars, 35 years-aged limited collector’s edition; and Ron Hacienda Santa Ana, “our first foray into the cask strength [in the] overproof segment, at 138° proof,” explained Edmundo B. Fernández Inc., the parent company responsible for the production, bottling, and distribution of Ron del Barrilito.
The company also said its “family patriarch, Pedro B. Fernández, infused the Ron del Barrilito brand and its quality with the French influence he himself learned and acquired while studying engineering in France during the 19th century. From its beginning, Ron del Barrilito has been located in one of the main sugar estates in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.”
B. Fernández Inc.’s president, José R. Colón Díaz, inaugurated the facility alongside business people, government officials and rum connoisseurs.
“The opening of the Visitor Center is an unequivocal expression of the commitment we made to preserve the history of Hacienda Santa Ana in Bayamón and the legacy of quality and dedication behind Ron del Barrilito,” Colón said. “This Visitor Center is unique in its class because it is built on the same grounds that Ron del Barrilito was first produced in 1880. We have cared for every detail and spared no effort to preserve the history and the architectural essence of the old structure to showcase it to the world with great pride. As part of these efforts we used reclaimed wood from the original structure to cover the interior of the Center in order to transport visitors to a true and unique experience.”
Hacienda Santa Ana was originally a sugar plantation founded in the late 1700s by the Fernández family in Bayamón, and the production of rum began in the early 1800s.
Ron del Barrilito’s master blender, Luis Planas, added, “the new Visitor Center is a monument to the artisanal tradition of the oldest rum in Puerto Rico. Tradition that has survived almost intact, transferring from generation to generation, the deepest secrets of its original recipe and its elaboration process, which was first crafted by Don Pedro Fernández and perfected by Mother Nature through the aging process, which is much more than what it takes to age traditional rum. I feel great satisfaction in ensuring that the visitor will have a very intimate encounter with the product and will be able to understand why we have been recognized as the world’s finest sipping rum.”
The Visitor Center will offer guided tours where participants will learn about the history of the Fernández family and about the “process of artisanal elaboration that is still in use today,” as well as be able to taste Ron del Barrilito. The facilities also feature a shop where specialty products can be purchased.
Bayamón Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera highlighted the contribution of the company to the economic and social development of this municipality.
“Hacienda Santa Ana, where Ron del Barrilito is produced, became the economic development engine of Bayamón in the 19th century, and with this re-launch and innovation, it once again becomes an economic pillar with great historical and tourism value. As a municipality, we have been alongside the private sector, in the search for new alternatives that result in the creation of new jobs and economic movement and this project, which has great historical value, is proof of that. Today we thank the great family of Ron del Barrilito for taking this important initiative,” Rivera said in the release.
The center’s operating hours will be weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and guided tours start at 10 a.m., with the last one at 4 p.m. For more information or to book a tour, visit www.rondelbarrilito.com or write to email@example.com.
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