SAN JUAN – Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla on Wednesday inaugurated “La Casita de Rones” (The House of Rums) in San Juan, a new initiative within the Rums of Puerto Rico program to push an industry that contributes $400 million each year to the island’s public coffers.
“Here the experience will be complete; a tourist attraction that’s going to promote one of the world’s best-known Puerto Rican products,” emphasized Garcia Padilla during the opening of the establishment, which is located in a building built in 1937 on the Plaza Darsenas, in Old San Juan.
After an investment of $750,000 dollars, The House of Rums will be the headquarters for promoting assorted brands of Puerto Rican rums with the aim of emphasizing the island’s claim to be “the world rum capital.”
“That title comes as a result of centuries of tradition, acknowledgements on the world level and the collective efforts of an industry that is not giving up,” said the governor of an island that produces and exports more than 70 percent of the rum consumed in the United States.
The new establishment, which in the past functioned as a customs office, a telegraph office and later as an office of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, has an area in which rums may be sampled including all the local brands registered in the program.
Bacardi, Serralles, Club Caribe, Barrilito, Caray, Trigo and the homemade products Pito Rico from the Cruz Distillery and El Pitorro from the Coqui Distillery are some of the brands that visitors will be able to sample there.
Garcia Padilla also said that the establishment will offer tourists and local residents “the world’s best rum and gastronomy,” with Puerto Rican “tapas” – or appetizers – being served to complement the assorted beverages.
“We’re the best in coffee, music and rum. This is what it’s about: showing our best face to the world,” said the governor during the inaugural ceremony, where he was accompanied by the executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, and the heads of other local agencies.
Among the most popular brands of Puerto Rican rums is Don Q Cristal, the main brand of the Serralles Distillery, with which the well-known “mojito” is prepared. Don Q Gold – also produced by Serralles – was the rum used to prepare the world’s first piña colada.