- Fernando Fernandez
Fernando Fernandez (c.1850 – 1940) was the founder of the oldest
rummanufacturing company in Puerto Rico.
Start of a dynasty
Fernando Fernandez who was born in
Bayamon, Puerto Ricowas the owner of the Santa Ana Plantation located in the city of his birth. The Santa Ana Plantation was land which was granted to his grandfather (whose name was also Fernando Fernandez) by the Spanish Royal Crown in 1797. Fernandez's grandfather was a naval captain who fought against piratesand English merchant ships. The Spanish Royal Crown granted him this land in recognition of his service to Spain, here he planted sugar canes and raised cattle.
In 1804, the elder Fernandez used a mixture of sugar and honey to process and distill rum. He aged his product in special barrels which were imported from
Europe. The rum he produced was only for the use of him and his family. In 1827, he had 127 slaves and ordered them to build an enormous windmillshaped like a tower. The windmill helped to extract the juice from the sugar canes. He would still resort to the use of manpower, whenever the wind wasn't strong enough for the to operate the windmill.
In 1846, Fernandez's father, Manuel Fernandez, inherited the plantation; Manuel Fernandez developed the land which consisted of over 2,400 acres (9.7 km²). Manuel Fernandez eventually purchased much of the property adjoining his land and soon became the richest man in Bayamon.
Fernando Fernandez takes charge
In 1880, Fernando Fernandez, became the owner of the
plantation. Fernandez imported a stillfrom Europe and started to produce rum using the sugar and honey from his land. He developed two different formulas for his rums and he used the same barrels which his grandfather had used before, believing that the rum's unique flavor would be contained in these barrels.
Soon the word spread about Fernandez's rum and many friends and nearby families would visit the Santa Ana Hacienda to "sample" the rum. People started calling Fernando's rum "Ron del Barrilito" (Rum from the Barrel). In Puerto Rico, families began switching from "
brandy" and "cognac", to "Ron del Barrilito". Fernando also produced "Alcholado Santa Ana" which is a product derived from alcoholand eucaliptic leaves and is greenish in color and unlike pure alcohol, it does not sting. It is principally used for rub-downs and to refresh the body.
Fernando Fernandez died in 1940 in Bayamon. His great-grandson, who is also named Fernando Fernandez, organized the company (which is now called "Edmundo B. Fernandez, Inc.") and continues to distribute two brands of "Ron del Barrilito" and "Alcholado Santa Ana" worldwide. The company's main offices are still located in the Hacienda Santa Ana with manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico and in the
Dominican Republic. Edmundo Fernandez's office is located in the windmill tower built by his ancestor.
In 1942, a single barrel, which is stored in the "cellar", was put aside with orders that it should only be opened when Puerto Rico becomes a free and independent nation. When and if that ever happens, the cask (barrel) will be brought to the town square in the center of Bayamon and its contents will be offered free to all those who wish to drink from it.
List of famous Puerto Ricans
* [http://www.puertorico-herald.org/issues/2003/vol7n34/RumRise-en.shtml Puerto Rico Herald]
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