Bacardi harnesses wind to power world's largest premium rum distillery

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Largest wind turbines in Puerto Rico; part of broad corporate responsibility renewable energy initiative.

Cataño, Puerto Rico, PRNewswire []

The world’s favorite premium rum — BACARDI — now has the power of wind behind it. Bacardi Corporation, part of the Bacardi Limited group of companies, and home to the largest premium rum distillery in the world, today unveiled the largest wind turbine installation in Puerto Rico designed to harness natural wind energy to help power Bacardi’s top global distillery near San Juan.

The 250,000 tourists who flock to the Casa Bacardi Visitor Center each year will not only learn about the history and production of the world’s favorite premium rum and the world’s most awarded rum, but also that natural wind energy powered the center.

“While many know Bacardi for great rums and cocktails, Bacardi also has been a leader in corporate responsibility and environmental progress. We’re always looking for ways to help the environment and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Joaquin Bacardi, president and chief executive of Cataño-based Bacardi Corporation. “Our latest innovation with these two specialized wind turbines seizes the power of the wind adding more force to Bacardi’s overall environmental commitment to save energy.”

The two Bacardi wind turbine units, which can be seen from miles away, are industrial scale at 250kW each and are owned by Cataño-based Aspenall Energies, which will sell the electricity produced by wind to Bacardi under a power purchased agreement. With their blades, the turbines are 137 feet high and have a rotor diameter of 75 feet.

“Puerto Rico relies on fossil fuels for virtually all its energy, so we hope other companies will follow this great leadership by Bacardi to use wind energy and other renewable energy sources,” said Puerto Rico Governor Luis G. Fortuño. “The focus on renewable energies is yet another sign of Bacardi’s social responsibility and commitment to the greater community. This sort of forward-thinking is exactly what we must encourage in Puerto Rico. This is precisely why we are introducing energy reform measures that will establish a better policy and regulatory framework that will enable more investment in renewable energy projects. The Government will serve as a partner through incentives and other support that will result in all individuals and businesses having more opportunities to become part of the energy solution.”

The two wind turbines are expected to generate approximately 1,000,000 kWh of electricity per year accounting for three to seven percent of the power used by Bacardi, roughly the consumption of the facilities tourism-related activities at its Casa Bacardi Visitor Center (and equivalent to the consumption of about 100 average households) with an expected carbon offset of more than 900 tons of CO2 per year. 100 percent of the power generated by the wind turbines will be consumed by the Bacardi facility. This project is the first step in utilizing wind power as a renewable energy source for Bacardi and the Company would consider additional wind solutions and other energy saving initiatives. The Bacardi turbine installation will be owned, operated and maintained by Aspenall Energies.

“We are proud to be the first company to install and operate an industrial scale wind project on the island of Puerto Rico. We are honored to have done so with Bacardi Corporation, a company that has shown through the years in a myriad ways how small changes, in the aggregate, can make an enormous difference,” said Raoul G. Slavin Juliá, managing director for Aspenall Energies, LLC.

“Bacardi has a strong record in environmental stewardship and is known as an innovator globally,” said Jon Grey, vice president of global operations for Bacardi. “In fact, here in Puerto Rico, Bacardi pioneered and patented the anaerobic treatment of distillery wastewater now used by other companies around the world. We use this anaerobic digester technology to treat wastewater which derives energy. In that process, micro-organisms naturally degrade waste materials, creating biogas, or methane, in the process. The biogas is fed into the boilers which power the distillery. This saves about half the energy needed to run them. The creation of the natural biogas reduces the need for imported oil or gas that would otherwise be necessary.”

Carbon dioxide is produced as an intermediate product during the fermentation process. This gas is recovered and sold to third parties mostly for carbonated beverages. In the period from June 2008 through February 2009, Bacardi has recovered and sold 10,378,251 lbs—5,189 tons of CO2—avoiding release into the environment.

To save water usage at the Cataño site, Bacardi treats wastewater that is then used in cooling towers during the production process. This saves 22,000 gallons of water every day.

Other environmental initiatives at the Bacardi facility in Puerto Rico include recycling old ageing barrels by dismantling and chopping them and giving the barrel chips to employees as mulch for their gardens and as well as spread on facility landscaping. As a novel idea to re-purpose promotional banners, Bacardi cuts and sews old banners into reusable shopping bags for employees.

Globally, Bacardi was certified in December 2009 to be operating in accordance with the world’s most recognized standards for quality, environment, and health and safety. Bacardi is the only major spirits company to achieve certification under ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 for all its production facilities globally, putting the company among an elite group of the world’s best-run companies.

About Bacardi Corporation

Bacardi Corporation was founded in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1936, and is part of Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world. The current facility was built in 1958 on 127-acres in the town of Cataño. This Bacardi rum production facility is the largest premium rum distillery in the world, and BACARDI is the largest premium rum brand globally and is the world’s most awarded rum. BACARDI rum has been a registered brand in Puerto Rico since 1909. The facility in Puerto Rico supplies various premium BACARDI products to North America, Europe and other parts of the world. Since 2004, Bacardi Corporation has operated the state-of-the-art Casa Bacardi Visitor Center, the second most-visited venue in Puerto Rico, drawing more than 250,000 visitors a year to learn about the rich history of the Bacardi family and brand, as well as its unique production. Bacardi Corporation employs more than 200 people in sales, marketing, operations, manufacturing and other support roles and plays a significant role in the Puerto Rican economy as it is the leading private contributor to Puerto Rico’s treasury through its annual contributions of income, excise and other taxes. For further information, please visit and

To learn more about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) best practices at Bacardi, please visit or read our Corporate Responsibility Report at

About Aspenall Energies, LLC

Aspenall Energies, LLC is a Puerto Rican renewable energy company founded in 2007. Its origins are in industrial real estate with more than 40 years experience on the island. The company is focused on wind and solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with industrial-sized clients. For additional information, please visit

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