THE home of the founder of the Bacardi drinks empire is to close near Barcelona, another victim of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Casa Bacardi in Sitges was the original home of Facundo Bacardi Masso, who left the Catalan city in 1830 to set up the drinks company in Cuba.
The website for Casa Bacardi, which closed on March 28, states that the property will remain shut “until further notice”.
Bacardi left Spain and settled in Santiago de Cuba where he became a merchant and importer of wine.
He transformed rum, which was at that time not considered a sophisticated drink, into a more refined drink by experimenting with charcoal rum filtration, which removed its impurities.
Facundo then further refined the rum by making it with two different distillates to give it a more subtle flavour.
Sources from the Bacardi Group told La Vanguardia newspaper that the company had made this “difficult” after careful consideration.
“Since its opening almost ten years ago, Casa Bacardi has been a local attraction much loved and valued by all who visited it but the latest limitations have meant that the potential number of visitors that we can host is extremely low.”
It added: “We will always be proud of our strong connection with this beautiful city. We are very grateful to Sitges and its wonderful people.”
Aurora Carbonell, the mayor of Sitges, said Bacardi had decided to close the brand homes in Sitges and France.
One of the largest private, family-owned spirits companies in the world, Bacardi’s bat symbol still adorns its bottles today.
Originally known for its white rum, it now has 200 brands and labels.
Founded in Cuba in 1862, the company has remained in the hands of the family for seven generations.
Bacardi Limited, which has its headquarters in Bermuda, employs about 7,000 people and its products sell in 170 countries.
Facundo L. Bacardi, who is the chairman of board of directors, is the original founder’s great-great grandson.
In 1954, Bacardi threw a party in Cuba for Ernest Hemingway when he was awarded the Nobel Price for Literature, soon after the publication of The Old Man and the Sea.
Hemingway mentioned Bacardi’s drinks in two other novels, To Have and Have Not and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
During the Cuban revolution, the Bacardi family initially supported the rebel forces led by Fidel Castro.
However, after the fall of the dictator Fulgencio Batista and the start of communism, the Bacardi family became fierce opponents of Castro.
In 1965, the company moved to Bermuda after the Cuban government seized all its assets.
In 1999, Bacardi won a legal fight with the Cuban government over the registration of the trademark of the Havana Club drink in the US.
The year before, Bacardi bought the Dewar’s scotch and Bombay Sapphire from the Diageo for $2 million.