The Barcelo Legacy

Every page on the history of the Barceló family shows their rum journey through Dominican Republic. I was lucky enough to get in touch with Jose Antonio Barceló the president of DuBar & Co, CxA who produces the rum Columbus, a descendant of the Barceló legacy. As he said: “Here is where the brand Barceló started, we made the formulations and started the export business.”

The company starts in 1929 by a young entrepreneur named Julian Barceló a Spaniard from Mallorca. For years they were making rum and created the legendary brand Barceló Rum. However, during a complicated period in the year 2005 they decided to sell the brand to a Spanish group which is now called BEICA.

Jose Antonio Barceló studied business administration which is helping him in the current position. He worked at the facility since his childhood, passed through every department and ended up in the production part – his true passion.His morning ritual consists of smell tests reminding him the variety of flavors. Seeing the brand around Dominican Republic makes him proud of what they achieved, but at the same time the nostalgic feeling comes up.

I was shown an old bottle of Barceló Añejo that was found in a colmado. For the president it is more than just a bottle. He keeps it on his desk to remind him about the family history and as he says “not to get lost”.

The Old Barceló Imperial had 30 years on the market. Their publicity was interesting since they invested in it only once a year. Every October 15th a page with the photo of the bottle appeared with a few words and nothing else.

Every time I am talking about the history of Barceló we end up talking about the legendary Barceló 21 Aniversario. It was the rum who opened the super premium category in Dominican Republic and according to Jose Antonio Barceló was a barrier for other brands to enter the market. However, after the year 2005 was this product discontinued and only a few cases exist nowadays spread through the Dominican Republic. Considered a gem in the world of rums so rare it makes you want to go rum hunting.

Imperial 21 was my preparation, my formulation. It was my graduation.”

– Jose Antonio Barceló

In the present DuBar & Co produces the Columbus rums on which I am going to focus in the next post later this week. They work also with private labels like Cayrum and a luxury rum which will be coming on the market in near future.

They have the capacity to produce 4 million cases of rum a year.

See photos on flickr.

The Distillery

I was told Dominican Republic has three distilleries: One owned by BEICA, second owned by Brugal and third one is owned by 2 main shareholders, the Barceló family and their partner Omar Bros (producing rum Grog for the Haitian market – coming up soon)

It was a fantastic rum flavored morning in the headquarters of DuBar & Co. The antique offices whisper the history in a pleasant tone which makes the whole day an experience. Let me know what you think. Do you remember the pre 2005 Barceló products?

  • flyinroom

    One of my biggest disappointments was when I could no longer find those great little bottles of Barcelo Anejo. I still have a bottle in my pantry and yes, I’m pretty sure it was one of the last ones on a dusty shelf in some colmado in El Cortecito.
    Life marches on and waits for no man.
    Interesting to read that Jose Antonio Barcelo keeps a bottle on his desk to remind him of family history….
    Maybe one day they’ll bring it back…