Brugal Dominican Rum
To understand Brugal Rum, it helps to understand the country and culture where it’s produced. The Dominican Republic plays a very important role in American history. Christopher Columbus made landfall in this tropical Caribbean island and in the name of Spain opened the door to an indelible amount of Spanish influence, architecture, culture, and immigrants.
Among these immigrants were the Brugal family, who came from Spain and settled in Puerto Plata, a small beach side community on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Like many of the islands in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is an ideal location for sugar cane, which when processed, makes an excellent base to produce rum. In 1888, the Brugal family got into the rum business, carting sugarcane from the southern part of the country near Santo Domingo up to Puerto Plata.
In the Caribbean, rum is incredibly nationalistic, and Dominicans, like Spaniards, are a very proud people. It’s very rare for people to drink rums from other islands, and when alcohol is consumed, it’s predominantly rum. Instead of cocktails, rum is often consumed over ice, or with cola or Seven-Up and lime in a drink called the Santo Libre. With meals or out at bars and clubs, bottles of rum are served whole, and like wine, a bottle of rum is often consumed in a single sitting and not saved for later.
To give you an idea of the scale of Dominican rum and Brugal in the Dominican Republic, Brugal sells nearly four million twelve-pack cases in the Dominican Republic alone. It’s a staggering number considering the total population, which including those too young to drink is close to nine million. Selling such a massive amount of rum in the Dominican Republic helps make Brugal the top selling rum in the Caribbean and one of the top three selling rums in the world.
As popular as Brugal is in the Dominican Republic, it’s not as known in the United States where rum is growing as a spirit category. Brugal Rum has been making great strides to connect with American imbibers who are transitioning looking beyond vodka and whiskey for new and interesting spirit experiences.
Brugal is dry style rum made from molasses, a byproduct of converting sugar cane into granulated sugar. Brugal takes the molasses, or melza, adds water and their proprietary yeast, and then ferments the mixture to make a molasses-based wine called vino. This wine is distilled in a giant column still that separates the wine into a high proof spirit called flema and the leftover materials called vinaza (which is processed to make a “green gas” that powers nearly 50% of Brugal’s energy needs for distillation). Many rum producers use the flema to make their rum, but Brugal runs the flema through a second still which is designed to enable for them to pull out specific elements from the spirit.
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