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The Bacardi Corporation has partnered with Puerto Rico-based manufacturer Olein Refinery Corporation to provide the raw materials necessary to make hand sanitizer, which is in very high-demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since there’s a shortage of hand sanitizer in Puerto Rico, just like the rest of the United States, Bacardi has shifted its production at its Cataño distillery to supply the ethanol needed to make hand sanitizer. The distillery is the world’s largest premium rum distillery and produces more than 80 percent of the company’s rum, so Bacardi and Olein should have no problem reaching their goal of more than 1.7 million units of 10-ounce hand sanitizer.

“We are extremely grateful to Bacardi for adjusting its production to provide us with raw material so that we may ramp up production of the disinfectants we need to help keep the people of Puerto Rico safe,” said Jorge González, president of Olein Refinery, in a press release.

According to its website, Olein usually “recovers and re-refines used oil and manufactures motor oil, synthetic oil, transmission fluid, and other automotive fluids.”

The product is 70 percent alcohol and meets the World Health Organization’s recommendation for containing the spread of the coronavirus.

The shift in production began on March 17th, and yesterday, March 20th, Bacardi began distributing the free hand sanitizer and disinfectant products made by Olein to United States Postal Service workers, firefighters, and police. Bacardi employees as well as contractors also received the free hand sanitizer. In addition, Bacardi plans to expand distribution to local communities and non-profit organizations, including Fondos Unidos (United Way), next week. Over half a million of the 10-ounce hand sanitizer units will be donated to local communities.

As a family-owned company, Bacardi says the health and safety of people is always important.

“This is a family-owned business and we know what it means to take care of a community in need,” said Jose Class, vice president of Supply Chain & Manufacturing, for Bacardi Latin America and the Caribbean, in a press release. “In the 158 years of Bacardi, we’ve endured our share of challenging times and have learned that resilience, optimism, and community are what will help us come out stronger.”

Bacardi has always made corporate responsibility a priority. In 1862, its founder and rum creator Don Facundo Bacardí Massó volunteered as the chief disaster relief organizer for Santiago de Cuba, his hometown, following a horrific earthquake, according to a press release. In recent times, Bacardi donated $1mllion in cash and other assistance to aid The Bahamas in disaster relief and recovery efforts following the devastating Hurricane Dorian. In 2017, the company committed $3 million to relief efforts in Puerto Rico, Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and The Bahamas after Hurricanes Maria and Irma hit those regions and Mexico suffered destruction from earthquakes. Bacardi has also made donations to aid relief organizations in Southeast Asia, China, Australia, Italy, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Chile, and the United States, in recent years.

Bacardi’s emergency shift in production will not disrupt the production nor supply of BACARDÍ rum, the world’s most awarded rum and one of our faves here at UPTOWN.