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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.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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