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Bacardi gets back to its roots

  • High spirits: K.C. Kavanagh and Mahesh Madhavan enjoy a drink at Hog Penny

Global drinks giant Bacardi got back to its roots as staff at its Hamilton HQ were called to the bar by its chief executive officer.

A total of 50 employees at Bacardi’s world headquarters in Pembroke went on a “Back to the Bar” pub crawl in a bid to promote its products at grassroots level.

Mahesh Madhavan, chief executive at Bacardi, said that Back to the Bar event was designed to honour the hands-on approach to marketing and promotion used by the family-owned company in its early days.

Mr Madhavan added: “One of the concepts that we are building as a leadership team is to say that this is not just a family company, this is your company.

“If it was your company, wouldn’t you do exactly what some of our founding fathers did?”

Mr Madhavan spoke to The Royal Gazette during a stop at Hog Penny on Burnaby Street in Hamilton on Thursday night.

Bacardi staff visited 13 establishments as part of a worldwide event in which 5,500 employees took part.

Mr Madhavan said the event was about getting the liquor brand’s employees out from behind their computer screens to promote the company’s spirit brands in person.

He explained: “It’s essentially giving our teams a flavour of what really happens out there in the world.

“The idea was to get the whole team to understand better what really helps us to build our brands.”

Mr Madhavan said the event was a combination of a team-building exercise and consumer interaction.

K.C. Kavanagh, senior vice-president of global communications, said that the event was more than a “wonderful” team-building outing.

Ms Kavanagh explained: “It also puts us all in the shoes of our salespeople on the front lines.

“This activity actually gives us a founder’s mentality, which is so important for the business.

“We have to walk in the bars, we have to sell our brand, we have to meet consumers one on one.”

Ms Kavanagh said the hope was that the event would become an annual event in association with Bacardi’s Founders Day, which marks the company’s creation in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, on February 4, 1862.

Bacardi moved to Bermuda in 1965 after Fidel Castro’s communist regime confiscated private assets in the country in 1960.

Mr Madhavan said: “We are committed to Bermuda.”