The Bacardi Logo
Early in Bacardi history, a bat colony in Cuba inspired the iconic logo now present on all BACARDÍ rum products. More than 150 years later, the Bacardi regional office in Coral Gables, Florida, welcomes a recently discovered nearby colony of rare bats.
A biologist at Florida International University recognized the bats shortly after relocating to Coral Gables. After being intrigued by their unique social call, she used a high-speed recording device to identify the colony as Eumops floridanus, one of the rarest mammals in the world. Only about 500 of the animals remain, all of which live in southern Florida.
After identifying the Eumops floridanus, the biologist began rallying the community to protect the species, and Bacardi quickly became involved with the efforts as a way of honoring its own heritage. Bacardi’s support of the local bats is also a nod toward its global environmental sustainability initiative, Good Spirited.
With the support of Bacardi, gatherings in support of the local bat population have evolved into major science and social events that raise funding and awareness of the colony while providing a forum for scientists to share insights on the rare species.
For more than 150 years, the internationally recognizable BACARDÍ bat emblem has represented Bacardi’s vast selection of rums. Fittingly, Bacardi’s BOMBAY SAPPHIRE brand encountered bats during a renovation project at its gin distillery at Laverstoke Mill in England. A thriving source of natural life and industrial history, the mill has received protection from the UK government as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is home to an array of animals, including otters, ducks, kingfishers, and a variety of fish.
Laverstoke Mill is also the chosen habitat for creatures of the nocturnal variety, which restoration crews discovered while preparing to renovate dilapidated structures dating back to the 18th century. The Georgian and Victorian buildings, while originally presumed to be vacant, actually housed a colony of bats. Not wishing to disturb the unexpected tenants, workers employed the help of a wildlife expert to humanely remove the bats when necessary, and considered the safety of any residing bats while carefully lifting each individual roof slate.
As a cornerstone of Bacardi history, bats serve as a symbol of family unity and good fortune for the company. The careful renovation of Laverstoke Mill exemplifies the commitment to limiting environmental impact promoted by Bacardi’s Good Spirited sustainability initiative.
The Scottish government aims to obtain 100 percent of the country’s power from renewable energy sources by 2020. In 2014, renewable energy became Scotland’s leading power source. Recently, the Scottish whisky industry has undertaken a collective effort to improve its sustainability, prompted by an Industry Environmental Strategy developed by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) in 2009. Implemented at the organization’s seven grain and 101 malt distilleries, the strategy applies to more than 90 percent of the industry.
When the SWA first launched its plans, only 3 percent of the whisky industry’s energy came from sources other than fossil fuel. The strategy includes a plan to bring this number to 20 percent by the year 2020 and sets a goal of 80 percent renewable energy by 2050. In 2012, the industry had already increased its use of renewable sources to 16 percent, putting it on track to potentially meet its first target with years to spare.
Much of this success is due to sustainable developments in the whisky distilling process. Distillation accounts for 79 percent of the energy used by the industry, and it traditionally involves the burning of fossil fuels. However, John Dewar & Sons, part of the Bacardi group, has projected a carbon footprint reduction of as much as 90 percent following the installation of a wood-pellet boiler at its Aberfeldy facility. The company will soon install a second boiler in Royal Brackla and is also researching anaerobic digestion (AD) as an additional option.
A number of Scottish distilleries have already begun using anaerobic digestion to fire their stills. The process requires breaking down organic matter, which produces biogas and biofertilizer. To fuel AD, the companies combine leftover grain known as draff with pot ale, a liquid distillation byproduct rich in yeast and protein, to create methane, which serves as an energy source for distillation. Recent research by groups such as Celtic Renewables and Heriot-Watt University have explored the role of anaerobic digestion in creating a circular energy economy, as AD byproducts can be harnessed for purposes such as animal feed, fertilizer, and transport vehicle fuel.
Since it started monitoring its global environmental impact in 2006, Bacardi Limited has reduced its energy consumption by 25 percent. Recently, it launched an environmental initiative, “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future,” to further its sustainability goals. The program has led to the implementation of innovative, environmentally friendly practices at Bacardi facilities around the world, including those producing MARTINI vermouths and sparkling wines.
Located on the outskirts of Turin, Italy, the village of Pessione is home to the world’s largest MARTINI facility, which has produced beverages for more than 150 years. Having recently adopted Bacardi’s dedication to environmental consciousness, the facility has operated almost entirely off of renewable energy since 2010, utilizing hydroelectric power as its primary energy source.
Hydroelectricity, which is produced through falling or flowing water, is one of the world’s cleanest forms of energy due to its minimal impact on the environment. The Pessione facility’s energy begins in the Alps, as mountain streams flow down into the winding rivers of the Aosta Valley. Using hydraulic turbines, hydropower production company Gruppo CVA converts this flowing water into hydroelectric power for use at the facility. The water continues to flow through the plant and farther into the valley, where subsequent hydroelectric facilities generate additional power for use by the surrounding communities.
These new practices have led to a 4 percent reduction in water usage and a 30 percent decline in greenhouse gas emissions. According to MARTINI operations director Giorgio Castagnotti, this accomplishment carries an environmental benefit equivalent to removing 700 vehicles off the highway.