As part of a joint and interdisciplinary idea involving the Rum Factory of Cárdenas -belonging to the Cuba Ron Corporation-, the Government and the provincial and municipal Party, as well as the Association of Historians of the city, the local development project La Vizcaya is part of a great movement to rescue historic sites in the city of Cárdenas. In this context, the harmonious combination between the rum and national cultures are indisputably linked together, along with the mission of environmental care.
The infrastructure emerges from an original building of the ancient industry Arechabala, in order to reactivate the architectural ruins, which are tangible and intangible heritage of this culture that arose from sugar canes, flavors and aromas.
The outdoor areas will simulate the ancient processes of rum production, including sugar cane plantation, a sugar mill, and the preparation and sale of drinks such as canchánchara, saoco or guarapo. In addition to all these facilities, a tasting room and liquor store will be available, as a tribute to the Rum Masters movement, as well as a shop, a coffee bar, a piano bar, an exclusive room decorated as the original walls of the industry, a gallery of art and three allegorical bars to the three geographical regions of the country and the rums that are produced in each and everyone of them.
The space is not going to be used only for tourism but for all the inhabitants of the city. The rollout proposes a productive chain with the institute and a gastronomy based on tapas where Cuban products will be used, in order to achieve a cuisine with national values.
Milagros Ortega, director of the rum factory, shares her perspective on the specific details of the project La Vizcaya regarding these actions.
How did you come up with the idea of starting a local development project with the rescue of the ruins of the Arechabala building?
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AA The facility had an original eclectic-style building in a poor state of construction which represents the heritage and cultural values of the city, so we decided to start the rescue tasks of its walls to avoid a total collapse. Today the dream of having a multipurpose facility that can preserve and transmit the essence of the culture in the production of Cuban rum comes true; also taking into account the constant exchange, recreational activities and enjoyment.
As a prelude to the inauguration, national and international activities were carried out and promoted at the exterior spaces of the building because of how cozy and pleasant the place is, with its beautiful view over the ocean, as well as to the Bay of Cárdenas and the tourist center of Varadero, . Among the most important events, there's the IV International Scientific-Technical Colloquium of Cuban Light Rum, held from May 24 to 26, 2016. During that time, the site was adorned with barrels, billboards of Cuban rums, and many bars were open with exhibitions of operators in the construction of barrels. Likewise, the international MEGA FAM event of the Havanatur travel agency was held with foreign tour operators who sell Cuba as a tourist destination in various countries of the world with satisfactory results.
Also, foreign clients and suppliers from different countries visited the facilities, as well as the city. At the same time, meetings were held with journalists of the local, provincial and national press, including Ciro Bianchi; and there was a visit from the delegates of the municipal and provincial Comunist Party of Cuba (PCC) , as well as local architects and historians.
Which authorities were involved at the works, how long did it take and what were the biggest challenges in the process?
Several authorities such as the entity's managers and the local mass and political organizations are involved with the project.
How important is the rescue of this building to the city of Cardenas?
It is very important for the city of Cardenas to rescue this building, since this is an emblematic industry in the economic and social development of the city, but also for the advantages and benefits it brought as a source of employment and for the diversity of productions it held. As an example of it, we can mention the candy factory, the sugar refinery, the alcohol and rum factory with its various warehouses, as well as a boat fleet and a dock. All this contributed to the renaissance of the Cardenas coast and the construction of a beautiful boardwalk along the coastal area, which is visited by citizens and outsiders. Comfortable seaside recreation areas were also built.
With the emergence of the Cuba Ron S.A. Corporation, the Rum Factory Cárdenas gives continuity to the premises and traditions of the production of Cuban Light Rum. This project will start the long-awaited trip to the rescue of the entire coastline of the city of Cárdenas and the points of interest located in the area, including the port.
The rescue of the Cuban rum industry heritage is a working goal of the Corporation. Under what premises was this project carried out and what utility will it have in the future for the rum industry?
The rescue of heritage has always been one of our objectives, as well as promoting the centennial culture in the production of Cuban Light Rum, creating a new value as a product in the country's tourist destination; also highlighting the values of the movement of Cuban Rum Masters and establishing a space for exchange with the public to transmit the history of Cuban Light Rum.
In the first stage, it is envisaged to recover the investment and generate profits destined to improve the rum production industry and the well-being of workers. In addition, the contribution of 10% of the obtained result will be used for the developpment of the municipality and the creation of a reserve to reinvest in other projects.
What other similar projects are you working on at the Rum Factory of Cárdenas?
We intend to work on a second stage to recover of the coastline, including the seafront boardwalk, and a building of great architectural value, which at the moment is abandoned but was used for various festive and cultural activities.
Together with the local government, it is planned to start up a plant for the production of hand and surface disinfectants with organic raw materials for the national market and also for export purposes.