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Serrallés organizes María recovery events in US, Europe

By on September 29, 2017

SAN JUAN – In London, New York, Houston, Miami and a dozen other cities, rum drinks will be served to raise money for those most affected by Hurricane María, Puerto Rico-based rum producer Serrallés Distillery said.

The company’s Don Q rum brand is organizing a series of cocktail events to fund relief efforts on the island, which was devastated by the category 4 storm last week. Serrallés is working with Puerto Rico Rises, an organization led by first lady Beatriz Rosselló, and the nonprofit ConPRmetidos, in partnership with Foundation for Puerto Rico.

For these events, each participating bar is creating a special drink menu with Don Q, and all sales will not only be donated but also matched by Serralles, explained Yisell Muxo, a marketing director for the distillery.

Some of the events took place over the weekend and at the beginning of this week at a number of bars, including Dot Dot Dot in Charlotte, N.C.; Grand Prize Bar in Houston; Backbeat in Austin; Porco Lounge & Tiki Room in Cleveland; and at Amor y Amargo, Cienfuegos, Mother of Pearl and Cork & Kerry in New York. Serrallés donated its products for all fundraisers.

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, bartender’s from Puerto Rico’s renowned La Factoría bar, Roberto Berdecia and Carlos Irizarry, will be serving Don Q drinks at Trailer Happiness in London along with other guest bartenders. All donated profits from this event will also be matched by Serrallés.

In New York, the bar industry has rallied its troops setting up collection centers in several bars including Suffolk Arms, Sweetwater Social, Walter’s, Pig Beach and Boilermaker, said Serralles rep Mea Leech, who is based in the city. This weekend, several events will be held including a special dinner by María Mercedes Grubb, chef at Santurce’s Gallo Negro bar, and a fundraiser, clothing and supplies drive at Von.

“People are coming out of the woodwork to help,” Muxo said.

Beyond cocktail events, Serrallés’s stateside employees have been organizing collection centers for Puerto Rico Rises in different cities, such as Miami, New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C.,  and Jacksonville, Fla. They have been collecting basic necessities that will be shipped to the island through the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration.

“Several companies met in Miami to work with the first lady’s organization. Serrallés was there, obviously; [as well as] Acha Trading, Telemundo, I Heart Radio, and a CrossFit gym donated it’s facilities for the center. The meeting happened last Thursday [Sept. 21] after the hurricane passed,” Muxo told Caribbean Business.

“All employees are actively collecting supplies for Puerto Rico and we have thousands of pounds,”she added.

An aid collection center in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. (Courtesy)

The company is also looking for temporary work on the mainland for bartenders who collaborate with their brands since many of them have been out of work for several weeks. Hurricane Irma left many businesses without electricity and María dealt a final blow, paralyzing the industry, which was also banned from selling alcoholic beverages for nine days.

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