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Q&A: Raising spirits with Facundo Bacardí

The IWSC’s 2018 president Facundo L. Bacardí has been chairman of the board of Bacardí Ltd since 2005, and a director since 1993. He is the great-great-grandson of company founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, and a fifth-generation family member. Here, he tells the IWSC about the most exciting spirits innovations in recent years, how the trade can better communicate with consumers, and what makes the IWSC stand out from its competitors.

What attracted you to the role of IWSC president?

The high-quality standard that the IWSC demands and celebrates is close to my heart. My great-great grandfather had unique passions for crafting superior liquids and my family is committed to honouring his legacy by ensuring his creation will remain the highest-quality rum available for purchase. The IWSC’s activities and focus are similar in many ways.

How valuable has your success in the IWSC been to the development of your brands?

By winning an award we have an incredibly valuable asset that assures the quality of our products. Our flagship Bacardí rum is “the most awarded rum in the world”, but we don’t submit it to just any competition because the quantity of those awards is only as good as the quality. The IWSC sits among the top shows on our short list of must-have competitions.

What have been the most exciting spirits innovations in recent years?

Focusing solely on rum, the recently renewed passion for premiumisation stands out. In the past year, we started a shift to make sure we re-establish what rum really means. To do so, we are embracing our heritage and origins in an external way by being a true rum and not chasing fads. Premiumising aged rum is in the best interest of the entire rum category that Bacardí, as the leader, is responsible for.

How can the trade better communicate with consumers?

Many brands have invested heavily in platforms that drive education with the aim of making sure the trade understands what’s in the bottle, and who are the people behind it. On the other hand, brands continue to invest in reaching consumers with messaging that helps them connect with the brand, be it through culture, authenticity, heritage, or the drinking occasion. I see opportunity in the creation of better bridges that connect these two worlds. We need to ask: how can the one-on-one experience of a sommelier with a guest at a restaurant be amplified to reach more consumers? How can we increase the opportunities for cross-exposure between these two groups so that we can add value to the at-home experience for consumers?

How will you use your experience to support and strengthen the IWSC? 

My experience will add value by amplifying and broadening the IWSC brand name in key regions where consumers may not be as in tune with what the IWSC is, or are not fully aware of its scope beyond the world of wine. In other words, increase the value of the IWSC for the distilled spirits world.

What can we expect to see from Bacardí in the year ahead?

More of our internal spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. We have been working across our entire portfolio of brands to make a genuine impact on culture and to do that we need to live it, breathe it and be part of it. Most importantly, there is a burgeoning dark-rum category we are nurturing. The trade and consumers are eager to discover new and engaging premium rums. In 2018, we will continue to build upon our current success by redefining our approach to Bacardí rum – from its look and feel, down to how we’re approaching rum education.

Q&A: Raising spirits with Facundo Bacardí

Upcoming Deadlines

27 July

Mexico Final Deadline

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27 July

Central & South America (except Mexico & Argentina) Final Deadline

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27 July

Argentina Final Deadline

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27 July

Australia Group Shipping

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Upcoming Events

24 July

IWSC Spirits Tasting 2018

Vintners' Hall

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12 September
14 Sep

CapeWine 2018

Cape Town, South Africa

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25 September

Love Wine, Love Chile

Level Two OXO Tower, London SE1 9PH

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08 November
10 Nov

HKTDC Wines & Spirits Fair 2018

Hong Kong

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