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Ponce’s Destilería Serrallés unveils $22M expansion to boost rum exports

Ponce, PR — Destilería Serrallés, a century-old manufacturer of premium rums, unveiled a new $22 million addition to its complex in this southern town to expand its participation in export markets through more of its current lineup of spirits and new products.

The new investment includes a new $4 million bottling line and a significant expansion in the company’s distillation capacity. The bottling plant, installed at the end of 2018, was brought from Europe and increased capacity to 200 bottles per minute, said Roberto Serrallés, vice president of business development and member of the 6th generation of the founding family.

Similarly, Serrallés confirmed the expansion and presence of the Don Q brand in international markets during the past 24 months, focused mainly on Europe.

The bottling plant, installed at the end of 2018, was brought from Europe and increased capacity to 200 bottles per minute.

“The new bottling line, which arises as a result of the ravages of Hurricane María on our existing lines, was designed exclusively for Serrallés and has advanced European technology,” he said.

“This machinery allows Serrallés greater flexibility to develop new products and ensure that the Don Q rum family continues to expand its footprint internationally,” he added.

During a tour of the facilities, Serrallés told members of the media that its flagship Don Q rum will now be distributed in nine additional markets in Europe and America including: Austria, Greece, Croatia, Portugal, Russia, Ireland, Bulgaria, Singapore and Canada.

Don Q has expanded its presence in the markets of Spain, England, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, where the brand makes promotional efforts.

This is part of the strategic business mission that Serrallés has undertaken to elevate the rum category, educating on distillation and aging processes to achieve the excellence of premium rums from Puerto Rico for the world, company executives said.

Serrallés currently uses warehouses in the Netherlands “to serve the countries of Europe and ensure that Don Q reaches the whole world,” said Serrallés, adding the company works with De Kuyper Royal Distributors in Europe.

Last year, 2018, Destilería Serrallés became the main exporter of bulk rum to the U.S. market. This milestone came after it lost the production of Captain Morgan rum in 2012, and its volumes fell significantly.

Now, Serrallés said the company has recovered production volumes, reaching 11 million gallons of bulk rum and has plans to produce more than 17 million by 2019.

The investments made in infrastructure will allow Serrallés to continue expanding the production of bulk rum up to 22 million gallons a year, he said.

This increase in production translates into benefits for the economy of Puerto Rico, because the growth in export volumes results in an increase in net federal funds the government receives from cover-over taxes.

After Captain Morgan moved its production to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Serrallés’ total contribution for that year by was reduced to $20 million. However, the company’s net contribution to the government for rum exports to the U.S. mainland has bounced back to $120 million in 2018, or six times as much, exceeding the volume lost.

During a tour of the facilities, Serrallés told members of the media that its flagship Don Q rum will now be distributed in nine additional markets in Europe and America.

The growth in export volumes since 2012 has allowed Distilería Serrallés to contribute to the government of Puerto Rico in revenues from sales of bulk rum of more than $350 million in that period, the executive said.

One of the new products that Destilería Serrallés is introducing — the Don Q Double Aged Vermouth Cask Finish — is the result of a collaboration with Italian mixologist Giancarlo Mancino, head of Vermouth Mancino.

Through the agreement, Destilería Serrrallés will be using the vermouth-maker’s barrels to age its rum for up to two months, to infuse it with all of the characteristics of the Italian spirit.

“The market is becoming more sophisticated in terms of their preferences of premium spirits. In Serrallés, we have 154 years of tradition merging art with science to create new expressions in fine rums, and this led us to achieve a collaboration with Vermouth Mancino in a process of double aging as an innovation of Don Q,” said Sylvia Santiago, vice president of manufacturing at Serrallés.

The maker of the iconic Don Q rum has pumped $22 million into its manufacturing plant, as it sets its sights on increasing its export activity, says Roberto Serrallés, vice president of development of Destilería Serrallés.

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