There are many famous symbols in rum; the Captain of Captain Morgan, the Appleton Estate banner, but one of, if not the most famous, is the Bacardi Bat. We have seen that bat on a variety of different TV adverts, Bacardi bottles and other marketing campaigns for Bacardi and it has become synonymous with the brand. But not many people know the history behind the flying mammal and its link to Bacardi.
In 1862, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso and his wife purchased a distillery and created light rum. During the early period of setting up Don Facundo’s wife noticed a colony of fruit bats were nesting in the tin-roofed distillery and suggested to her husband that they become the symbol of their newly developed rum. However, there was more to this decision than just this suggestion. The fruit bat has roots in folklore in both of the Bacardi’s native homeland. They symbolise good fortune as well as represent brotherhood, faithfulness and discretion. Also the fruit bat is a natural friend of the sugar cane industry as they pollinate the crops and also prey on those particular insects which cause damage to the crop.
The insistence on a logo became a genius move as many of their potential clients at the time were illiterate. The rum of the bat or “el ron del murcielago” was how Bacardi became known in that time, as the company had the image of the bat burned into barrels. As we know today as well, when Bacardi was bottled, each one featured the bat and initially had Don Facundo’s signature as well to assure customers of the quality and authenticity of its contents.
The logo itself has changed significantly from the original since registered in 1862. The first adaptation of the logo was a realistically drawn black bat on a red background. After being updated numerous times, the logo that was created in 1959 is very similar to today’s version. We have the gold features on the bat as well as a gold outline to the red border. The change of the viewing angle of the bat to the right recently was to symbolise looking to the future.
When Dona Amalia suggested to her husband to use the fruit bat as the logo for the fledgling rum business they were running, there is no way she could have foreseen just how important that bat would become to the global brand and trademark that Bacardi has gone on to become today.