Puerto Rico’s reputation as the “Rum Capital” was reinforced last weekend with the overwhelming success of the third annual Taste of Rum Festival.
Rum Capital Hosts Rum Fest
Looking at the success of this past weekend’s 2011 Taste of Rum Festival in San Juan, one thing is obvious – rum is more than just a drink. It is also a tourism and economic driver for Puerto Rico.
The third annual Taste of Rum provided patrons with the opportunity to show local pride and celebrate Puerto Rico’s centuries old rum industry. As news of the festival has traveled beyond the Island, visitors from the mainland United States and throughout the Caribbean are now coming to San Juan to learn more about rum. The festival has become so popular that it was extended to two days this year.
“Our goal with the Taste of Rum festival is multi-faceted,” said Nicole J. Rodriguez, Director of Rums of Puerto Rico, the sponsor of the event and the umbrella marketing program for the collection some of the world’s finest rums. “The festival started as a way to showcase all rums produced internationally. This year we’re highlighting only the finest rums in the world, Puerto Rican rums. The festival gives us the opportunity to show the impact that the rum industry has on our economy and promote rum tasting as an additional reason for rum fans to visit Puerto Rico on vacation.”
This year, the two-day event attracted 3,000 visitors, more than double the attendees in 2010. Approximately one-third of the attendees came from outside Puerto Rico. In addition to sampling rum drinks created by celebrity mixologists, visitors were able to enjoy foods, such as barbeque seasoned with rum, listen to local music, watch skilled flair tender competitions and participate in exclusive seminars to learn more about what makes Puerto Rico’s rums so special.
“Puerto Rico’s rum industry already provides more than 70 percent of the rum sold in the United States,” said Jose Ramon Perez-Riera, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, which oversees Rums of Puerto Rico operations. “Rums continue to remain both a driver of the Puerto Rican economy and an ambassador for the Island. By adding a tourism component to the rums campaign, we hope to attract additional visitors to the Island and increase sales of our fine products”
“Our goal is to establish the Taste of Rum festival as the preeminent rum event in the world,” continued Rodriguez. “We want rum fans to think about coming to Puerto Rico in the same way that wine fans plan to travel to Napa Valley or scotch whiskey fans schedule a vacation in the United Kingdom. Taste of Rum is the backbone in this effort.”
This is the first festival held since the launch of the “Just Think, Puerto Rican Rum” campaign in February. The campaign underscores the award-winning attributes that make Puerto Rican rums stand out from their competitors. For example, the campaign reminds consumers about Puerto Rico’s centuries old tradition of rum making; the legally-mandated, one-year aging of certain rums in white oak barrels; and the Island’s commitment to excellence. The result: Puerto Rican rums, including Bacardi, Don Q, Ron Llave, Ron del Barrilito and Palo Viejo, are the finest rums in the world.