Hurricane Maria has knocked out water, electricity and phone services in Puerto Rico, with conditions described as ‘apocalyptic’. At least 10 people are reported to have died.
Puerto Rico has been home to the Bacardi rum distillery, the largest premium rum distillery in the world and where the company produces its namesake brand, since 1936. The accompanying Casa Bacardi visitor center is the second most visited tourism venue in metro San Juan.
In a statement on Friday, Bacardi said: “In Puerto Rico, while communications are difficult due to limited cell service after Hurricane Maria, we have been able to reach many employees and are not yet aware of major losses. Our facility experienced some damage and we are waiting for our teams to complete a full assessment in the coming days when safe to do so. Contingency plans have been enacted as to not impact the supply of Bacardi rum.”
Bacardi has pledged $3m to disaster relief assistance, in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria as well as the earthquakes in Mexico. Of the total, $2m will be designated to Puerto Rico, and $1m to local relief agencies in Florida, Caribbean islands, the Bahamas and Mexico.
With a presence in Mexico since 1931, the company has offices and production facilities for its rum and tequila brands.
“In Mexico, all our employees are safe after the earthquake on Tuesday,” says Bacardi.
“Our rum facilities have suffered only minor damage and restarted production on Thursday. Our tequila facility in Arandas continues to operate. We are also helping those helping us as our cafeteria in Tultitlán has provided 500 lunches for local rescue crews.”
Bacardi says the devastation of the recent natural disasters strikes particularly close to the company since many impacted communities are considered home to its operations, offices, and employees. In addition to operations in Puerto Rico, Bacardi rum is bottled in Jacksonville, Fla., and South Florida is home to the Bacardi North America regional headquarters office.
Facundo L. Bacardi, chairman of family-owned Bacardi Limited, added: “The Bacardi family, company and our employees are deeply saddened by the devastation and horrific loss caused by the recent hurricanes and earthquakes. We hope these donations will help alleviate some of the stress and pain people are experiencing while addressing some of their most basic needs.”
Earlier this year Bacardi USA contributed up to $100,000 to support its business partners and others affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas.