In 1493, on what was his second voyage to the Caribbean, Christopher Columbus brought with him sugar cane from Spain to Puerto Rico. Shortly thereafter, Juan Ponce de León, Puerto Rico’s first governor, planted the first sugar cane fields in the Island during his governorship. This would prove to be a crucial moment in our history since rum production in Puerto Rico is closely linked to the production of sugar since rum is distilled from the fermented juices of the sugar cane. The process is simple, sugar cane juice (guarapo) is extracted and boiled at a high temperature, the process yields a syrup called molasses that when mixed with water and is fermented produces the distilled spirit rum.
Puerto Rico’s rum history can be traced back to the 16th century. The elaboration of rum began on a sugar mill located in Añasco in the 1520s. A few years later, between the 1540s to the 1550’s rum plants were established in Bayamón and Loíza. During that time, the rum produced in the Island was for consumption of locals.
Rum quickly became a trading commodity and had limited but constant export during the 16th century. Rum was always available and was the drink of choice of the slave masters and the slaves. It was also the favorite drink of privateers and pirates who would drink it while out at sea and steal it from trading ships that traveled through the Caribbean.
After a series of ups and downs in the rum industry, mainly due to the Prohibition Era in the United States, the Second World War, and changes in customer tastes, in 1948, Rums of Puerto Rico was created to promote local rum brands. Since its beginnings, Rums of Puerto Rico, has focused on identifying better processes that benefit the production and marketing of rum in Puerto Rico, as well as, elevated quality standards.