The history of United Liquor C.A. and its distributor Seagram de Venezuela started in 1961 with the packaging of the first bottles of Vintage Cacique Rum. Today, four decades later, both companies have an annual production capacity of 16 million litres and distribute 24,000 cases per day.
Humberto Arispe, who was part of United Liquor C.A. for 27 years, was a key figure in the company's production, from project engineering jobs through the phases of packaging and distillation, to production management. He is largely responsible for the products that have been launched under the Cacique brand in the last two decades, from the Cacique 500 years, created in 1992 as a way to commemorate the five hundred year anniversary of the discovery of America, to the Cacique Antiguo Millenium, released in 2000 to mark the end of the millennium. United Liquor produces these products in one of the most modern plants in Latin America, and its strict quality control policy has earned the company a Platinum 9000 certificate, perhaps the most coveted quality certification for any company.
The goal of each new product is clear: the Cacique brand seeks to destroy the old myth that Rum is the drink of the lower income classes. Little by little they have begun to see results.
Arispe has said that "one of the biggest challenges has been to maintain the unchanged taste of each bottle for two decades." Arispe and his team of assessors evaluate their products daily. "It's basically a subjective test; we must work together. The bigger the team, the greater the objectivity of the test. “These tests are so delicate that to be one hundred percent effective the rum assessors cannot wear perfume, smoke before the test, or drink liquor the day before.
The rum production process starts with the molasses, "a product generated in the rectification of sugar. The molasses contains between 50 to 55 percent sugar". As with all alcoholic beverages, the first step is the fermentation in which between 7 and 9 percent alcohol is obtained. Once fermented the molasses passes through the distillation phase. United Liquor utilizes three methods to complete this process: the first is batch distillation which creates heavy rums; the second is continuous distillation which creates extremely pure alcohol, and the third is a combination of the first two methods. "We obtain seven types of rum that, once aged in seven distinct types of barrels, produce 35 rums with different aromas and flavours", calculates Arispe. It should be noted that all Cacique products in reality are a mix of distinct rums in various proportions. The aging phase, which occurs right before the mixing phase, occurs in white oak barrels. This aging process develops many types of rum, which is why they need to be mixed with other rums to produce the final products. Arispe explains, "When the rum is aging, it can emerge with a different flavour than the desired product. The same barrel, from one year to another, can produce different rums. This is why it is fundamental that our master rum blenders perfect the product to have the signature Cacique flavour".
Cacique Vintage Rum 500 is exclusively produced in Venezuela, where the purest spring water and fertile sugar cane fields guarantee the best ingredients, 100% natural. The rum is distilled traditionally: handmade and in copper stills. Later it rest for a long time (close to 8 years) in carefully selected oak barrels, until it reaches its ideal maturity level. Rum masters taste the final results, barrel by barrel, saving the best barrels for "CACIQUE 500".