Despite being one of the most popular and well-known rum brands on the planet (and the world’s largest privately held spirits company), Bacardi has maintained an air of mystery — specifically when it comes to its logo. While many rum brands display images of beach scenes, hula girls, and pirates on their bottles, Bacardi has gone a completely different route with its long standing bat logo.
What does a bat have to do with a decades-old Puerto Rican rum, you might be wondering? The story begins in 1862, when Don Facundo Bacardí Massó set up Bacardi’s first distillery in Cuba. It didn’t take long for his wife, Doña Amalia Bacardi, to discover that hundreds of fruit bats, following the sweet smell of molasses, were hiding out in the distillery’s rafters.
Unlike many homeowners and apartment dwellers who find uninvited furry guests in their quarters, the Bacardis decided to leave the bats alone. Some stories claim that this was because Doña Amalia recognized bats as a good luck charm and symbol of good health. Others believe it may also have been because rum producers have an innate respect for the animal, which pollinates sugarcane and eats the insects that prey on the sugarcane plant, which is used to make rum.
Either way, the family allowed the fruit bats to continue to live in the rafters of the distillery. Soon, the public caught wind and began ordering “el ron del murciélago,” or rum of the bat. By 1890, the bat symbol became Bacardi’s official logo, and it has remained that way ever since.
Today, Bacardi continues to show its dedication to the bat, recently expanding its Puerto Rico-based pollinator garden, which houses endangered wildlife including seven species of bats, plus butterflies and bees. Sugarcane-pollinating bat species such as the lesser long-nosed bat that were previously listed as federally endangered species have recently been delisted due to recovery. That’s thanks to initiatives such as Bacardi’s pollinator garden that are working to conserve these dying populations and ensure that the bat can continue to live on, beyond the Bacardi logo.