September 28, 2011 at 12:49 PM

First Person: DonQ Rum Receives 5-Star Diamond Award

"The award ceremony was held at The Museo Del Arte in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I was honored to be a part of the guest list..."

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The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (AAHS) recently honored Distileria Serralles, maker of DonQ Grand Anejo Rum, with the prestigious 5 Star Diamond Award. The is the first time a rum maker has received this award, which puts Distileria Serralles in the ranks of Thomas Keller’s Per Se Restaurant, Mercedes-Benz, and Trump International.

The AAHS looks for companies that demonstrate the highest levels of hospitality and service in the world. Distileria Serralles has been family owned since 1864, and supports many social programs throughout Puerto Rico, they employ nearly 600 employees and are the world’s only environmentally sustainable liquor operation (to learn more on this, please read the article I wrote last year about DonQ).

The award ceremony was held at The Museo Del Arte in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I was honored to be a part of the guest list. Distileria Serralles’ President, Felix Serralles was also honored with a 5-star Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award. “I am not usually at a loss for words like I am tonight,” says Serralles in his speech,”because this is something completely unexpected.”

In speaking with Roberto Serralles, Vice President of Distileria Serralles,”He (Felix) was genuinely shocked and at a loss for words (which is unusual). It was a surprise for him and he was emotionally taken. His speech captured the whole element of family (once you are in you never get out!) and his recognition of Silvia (Santiago, VP in charge of manufacturing)) as integral to the creation of Gran Anejo was a nice touch.”

The award couldn’t have come at a better time for the Serralles Family, who have been in business since 1864. The Serralles Distillery is the producer of Captain Morgan Rum, at least for the rest of this year. Diageo, the wold’s largest producer of spirits in the world, has decided to move the production of Captain Morgan to St Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

With this move, Puerto Rico will lose approximately $120 million in annual tax revenue generated by the Rum Excise Tax Cover-Over, a tax of $13.50 for each proof gallon of rum sold in the U.S., $13.25 of which is given back to the territory of origin.

“This is a massive hit to Puerto Rico’s social programs. The money from the excise tax cover-over program supports funding for schools, hospitals, roads, beaches and parks.”, says Serralles.

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