After 60 years of quietly producing quality rum in Belize, Cuello Distilling begins to gain the recognition they deserve.
Distilling Tradition & Quality
Most people who visit Belize go for the fishing and diving, but you can hardly claim to know this beautiful country without sampling some of their rum. Many tourists quickly discover One Barrel, a nice gold rum that is great in simple cocktails. Their business team has done a great job of marketing and distribution over the years and their products are highly visible across the country. But One Barrel is not the top selling rum in Belize, a lesser known brand lays claim to that distinction and takes a much more subtle approach to rum sales. They simply let their products speak for themselves.
Cuello Distilling, based in the sleepy town of Orange Walk, has remained focused on creating quality spirits for several decades. Their line of Caribbean Rum has been making inroads into the local rum and cocktail scene over the last 10 years and has become the top selling line in the country.
Cuello is a family-owned business with roots that go back 60 years in the country. The family patriarch, Ignacio Cuello, started making strong rum back in the 1950s. Over time he tweaked his recipe and methods while slowly perfecting his signature style. Ten years later, the business-side of things developed under the leadership of Hilberto Cuello and the brand was under full-scale operation in the late 1960s. They added several varieties of rum to the line along with other spirits to meet market demands. The next generation of Cuellos took over in 2009 and have been pushing the brand’s distribution and visibility.
Cuello makes a very nice white and coconut rum, but their Caribbean Gold is among the best. It is full of flavor with a subtle finish and is one of the very few young rums that works well as a sipper. In country, this bottle goes for $3-4 a liter, no wonder it’s so popular.
Distribution is good, sales are up and the future looks bright for Cuello. There’s talk of the brand entering the US market in the coming years and they will do well here. We’ll be sure to report any developments about this traditional brand of Belizean rum and you’ll be the first to know when you can find it on the shelves of your local liquor shop. Until then, you’ll just have to make a trip south of the border to score a bottle or two.