Monday, October 27, 2014

Going Batty!

Here's another subject of interest for this Halloween Season: The Bacardi rum logo.

The other day I was in my local Von's, and saw a store employee wheeling a pile of Bacardi boxes through the market. My eye caught the logo: a black bat on a bright red circular field. Ahh! The Bacardi logo. Perhaps the Halloween spirit overtook me, but I immediately had to find out about it.
And, for my purposes herein, the Bacardi story goes back to just a little after the 18th Century, so I will consider it worthy of discussion.

The story involves Spanish wine merchant, Facundo Bacardi Masso, born in 1814 in Catalonia, Spain. He emigrated to Cuba in 1830. During this time, rum was made cheaply, not considered a fine drink. It was seldom served in upscale taverns. So Facundo tried "taming" the run by isolating a particular strain of yeast to use in his rum production. Though the company was not formally founded until later on, his new concoction was a hit, giving the rum its characteristic flavor.

Now, how he came up with the logo? When he and his brother Jose bought a distillery so they could turn their experiment into a business, they noticed fruit bats living in the rafters, and voila!
Bats get a bad rap, associated with witchcraft, black magic, darkness, vampires. In Shakespeare, the "Weird Sisters" in Macbeth, incorporate bats into their "toil and trouble" brew. In Western culture, bats are always associated with foreboding, bad omens, death and destruction. Even of late, with the Ebola scare, bats are shown to have a connection with the spread of the deadly virus.

Of course, it doesn't help their popularity when they have a rather ugly face, wings that have hooks, and a  draculesque-type cape in the way they can wrap themselves in their waxy wings. But, nevertheless, they do eat insects that we would rather not see around. The bats in Facundo Bacardi's rafters were probably doing him a favor. He probably thought so, too!  

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