Inside Puerto Plata’s series on “Puerto Plata GAMECHANGERS” will highlight and give well-deserved praise to amazing individuals, past and present, who have had a tremendous impact on Puerto Plata and its surrounding areas. We will be featuring both revered and controversial figures and look forward to stimulating dialogue from you, our readers.
In this particular post, we will talk about a man who had a great impact not only in Dominican Republic and Puerto Plata, but also all around the world. His surname is usually pronounced in pubs and bars where good liqueur is offered, and is always associated with outstanding rum and quality distillation processes. You will see here that this man is not only responsible for the quality cocktails that people drink nowadays, but also for the business and industrial shift of a whole country.
Born during the very beginning of the second half of the 19th century (January 29, 1850, to be precise) in Sitges, Cataluña, Spain, Andrés Brugal decided to leave the old continent in 1868 and moved to Santiago, Cuba. During this first stop in the Americas, he acquired work experience in sugar cane distillation and in the rum making field. Due to the war that was taking place in Cuba, he decided to move to Dominican Republic and start his own company in the beautiful beach town of Puerto Plata, where he also took up permanent residence. That was the event that changed Dominican Republic’s industry.
Founded in 1888, and thanks to “Don” Andrés’ experience in Cuba, Brugal & Co. took Dominicans by surprise and introduced a high quality rum, which was made locally in Puerto Plata. That was the beginning of the rum making industry in Dominican Republic, and also the beginning of a long family tradition, since the Brugal family has been managing the company until today.
During the following years, Brugal & Co. grew fast in popularity and Andrés Brugal, unknowingly, started to become the forerunner of business leadership in Dominican society. With an innovation, originality, quality and hard-work mindset, this Gamechanger set a whole new business philosophy, which serves until today as spiritual guidelines for companies, managers, business leaders and entrepreneurs all over Puerto Plata and Dominican Republic.
Due to the fast growth of the company, Andrés Brugal decided to open some new factories in the city of San Pedro de Macoris. Also, the first rum ageing storehouses were built, which featured oak barrels and advanced a whole new “Golden Rums” product segment thanks to Andrés Brugal’s initiatives. He knew that the white oak barrels combined with the particular weather of the “Bride of the Atlantic” would give his products the unique flavor needed to shine among all competitors.
Apart from his knowledge in rum’s distillation, production and ageing, Andrés Brugal was so smart and had such a strategic thinking that he set a tradition among Brugal & Co.’s managers to adapt to changes. That is why his company is always at the forefront of the production processes trends, and that is why Brugal & Co. always supplies all the market’s demands. At that time, this point of view was very radical, but today, it has influenced business leaders all over the world.
Andrés Brugal, the GAMECHANGER
Andrés Brugal made a name for his family as expert artisans in the production of fine rum. He also made some of his relatives work as “Rum Masters”. They were involved in each and every stage of the production in order to bestow the Brugal seal in all their products.
Since Andrés was not satisfied with a full operating and successful company, he decided to establish the “Brugal Foundation”, a non-profit organization that, until today, has the objective of supporting the country’s economic development. Through different programs and activities, this foundation works hard in order to improve life conditions of people in need in Dominican Republic. From building schools or houses to educating Dominican children, the Brugal Foundation has always presented a strong commitment with the community. With this initiative, Andrés Brugal’s influence started reaching not only businessmen in Puerto Plata and Dominican Republic, but also philanthropists from all over Latin America.
Thanks to “Don” Andrés’ vision and hard work, Brugal is now at the top three most consumed rums in the world, and its Golden Rum is the most sold in the Caribbean. Also, Brugal & Co. is considered as the Dominican “country brand”, due to its role as an active partaker in Dominican Republic’s industrial development.
After an extensive business and influential life, Andrés Brugal died on December 5, 1931, in Puerto Plata, and his body rests in the family’s local sepulchral vault. Today, there are more than 1,500 Dominican people, scattered over seven generations, who descend from this Spanish immigrant who had come to Puerto Plata to start a revolution in Dominican Republic’s industry.
Undoubtedly, Andrés Brugal had a vast career as a businessman and his vision has been an inspiration to many company leaders and rum-making experts. That is why it is so complicated to describe his whole influence in the Dominican Republic without forgetting or passing by some aspects. We, at Inside Puerto Plata, will take a shot and summarize the influence and legacy of this Gamechanger, both in Dominican Republic and Puerto Plata, with the following list:
- Through his family business, Brugal & Co., he kick-started the Dominican rum-making industry.
- His company offered a lot of job positions and opportunities for families in Puerto Plata.
- He established a whole new business management and leadership mindset in Dominican society, which other businessmen all over the world adopted as their new business and management philosophy and style.
- He set a new quality standard in the rum-making industry, protecting the local production.
- With the Brugal Foundation, he supported the economic development of the country by helping Dominicans in need and offering them opportunities and hope.
- He led a family business into global recognition, from which all Dominicans feel proud of.
- He was a centerpiece in Dominican Republic’s industrial development, making Brugal & Co. the Dominican country brand.