Venezuelan based Hacienda Santa Teresa has been operating since 1796, this year they celebrated their 225th birthday.

In 1830 the house began producing rum and hasn’t looked back since. The line’s signature bottling, Santa Teresa 1796, is a bold and elegant spirit aged in bourbon oak barrels using the solera method. To learn more about the brand and how it’s celebrating this momentous birthday, we caught up with Alberto Vollmer.

Santa Teresa 1796 Hacienda

Santa Teresa 1796 Hacienda

Tell us about what’s new at Santa Teresa Rum.

Nancy Duarte, who has been with the Santa Teresa family for 31 years, recently received the title of Master Distiller, the first female and fifth distiller in 225 years of our history.  Nancy leads the total process of quality, development, and formulation of liquids and innovations within the production process for the brand. She also oversees new products for the company portfolio. We are proud to see Nancy step into this role; her longstanding knowledge of the process and brand is invaluable to our growth.

In the US, we recently launched a new label program where consumers can add their personalized touch upon purchasing their bottle of Santa Teresa 1796. Our bottle label pays homage to the Hacienda Santa Teresa and the brand’s storied history, featuring a depiction of the brand’s home in Venezuela. Allowing people to take gifting and cocktail-making moments to new heights this season and beyond, the personalized label program is available HERE.

Santa Teresa 1796

Santa Teresa 1796

Talk to us about Santa Teresa’s 225th Anniversary. How will the team celebrate?

This year we celebrate 225 years since Hacienda Santa Teresa was founded. We’re proud that for 225 years, the Hacienda Santa Teresa has mastered rum techniques, and pioneered unexpected methods, turning the brand into Venezuela’s top rum producer. All of this while standing strong and smiling through historic challenges and transforming our surroundings for the better.

The oldest Venezuelan producer of blended and aged rums, Santa Teresa is an independent, 5th generation family-owned company built on 225 years of tradition and unexpected thinking. We’re the third oldest rum producer in the world and have survived war, economic depression, dictatorships, land invasions and the threat of nationalization, and yet we’ve continued to thrive and look forward to the next 225 years.

But today, we don’t make rum just to make rum. We’ve continued to produce our single estate rums for 225 years to fund our charitable initiatives, uniting the communities we serve. Most notably, our program Project Alcatraz rehabilitates gang members via the unexpected sport of rugby. The program gives these men second chances, turning them into craftsmen and empowering them to smile back at adversity.

Santa Teresa Hacienda Bottle waxing

Santa Teresa Hacienda Bottle waxing

Today’s rum brands are launching new expressions entering the premium category and appeal to a new generation of rum drinkers. Talk to us about this trend.

We are constantly working and researching for new possible innovations that are appealing for our super premium rum consumers as well as whisky consumers, with unique liquids. To celebrate the 225th Anniversary of the Hacienda Santa Teresa, we launched a Santa Teresa 1796 Special Edition, designed by members of Project Alcatraz. Their proposals had to show what it means for them to be Made of the Unexpected, and when asked what the inspiration for their designs was, these were some of their responses:

  • “Vision, integrity, empathy, faith, transcend”
  • “We found a small ray of light (Project Alcatraz) and it wasn’t a small ray, it was full light”
  • “Triumph, through hard work and discipline”

This Special Edition will be only available in Venezuela.

What’s the best way to enjoy Santa Teresa 1796 Rum?

Well, if it is your first time, it is always encouraged to try it neat or on the rocks so you can enjoy its rich, refined, yet unexpectedly dry taste. But you can also get creative with it – Santa Teresa 1796 offers the ideal base to create a variety of super premium cocktails from spirit-forward Old Fashioneds to tropical Daiquiris- you are bound to find something that fits your taste with Santa Teresa 1796.

What should bartenders know about serving Santa Teresa?

Our Venezuelan heritage is an inextricable part of our identity. We’re the first ever Venezuelan rum brand and still family-owned. Five generations of rum-making expertise went into creating Santa Teresa 1796, which we released to mark 200 years since the founding of the Hacienda Santa Teresa.

The sugar cane and water used to make Santa Teresa come from the brand’s estate and local farms in the Aragua Valley. This terroir provides the perfect environmental conditions for aging rum, from its rich soil to its temperate climate. From fermentation through distillation, aging and blending, it all happens at our Hacienda. But it’s not just our terroir and history that forms our identity. We’re also pioneers in the use of a complex production process and employ the traditional Solera Method to create Santa Teresa 1796. This artisanal method processes blends of rums aged between 4 to 35 years to form a rum with a smooth, dry and balanced profile.

Santa Teresa 1796 has been recognized as the best crafted rum in the world and holds more than 45 international accolades from the most prestigious competitions, such as the International Wine and Spirits Competition, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and the USA Spirits Ratings.

Its wide range of tasting notes include honey, prunes, nuts, dark chocolate, prunes, leather, tobacco and hints of pepper.

Where do you see the premium rum segment headed within the spirits industry? 

Across spirits categories, people are adopting the “less, but better” mantra. They’re trading up and looking for ways to elevate the drinking occasion. The premiumization trend first impacted categories such as tequila and whisky, with rum long besieged by a reputation as a spirit best relegated to simple and overly sweet beach cocktails. The truth is that rum has always had craftsmanship and provenance that equaled other aged, old-world spirits like Single Malt Whisky or Cognac – people just weren’t aware of it.

A new generation of drinkers are searching for super-premium experiences, eager to explore innovative and luxury spirits in categories they aren’t as familiar with. As a result, they’ve discovered the subtlety and complexity of super-premium dark rums like Santa Teresa 1796, which has a flavor palette more akin to scotch and whisky than the typical rum.

The premiumization movement is apropos for Santa Teresa 1796, as it is a rum brand with centuries of savoir-faire and a fascinating heritage. Anybody who appreciates a well-crafted spirit will appreciate the layered richness that comes from the complex Solera Method, as well as the unexpectedly dry finish of Santa Teresa 1796.