Interview with Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernández Ron Duran – Master Distiller

Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernández

Ron Duran – Master Distiller

1) Bucket List items for this year.

  1. I would like to go to a rum festival in Berlin
  2. Celebrate my 77th birthday
  3. Spend a lot of time enjoying my grandchildren
  4. See all our brand strategies successfully executed
  5. Develop new concepts for the US Market such as a new Caña Brava Rum profile

2) What is the biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplish for the rum industry

The biggest achievement one can ask for is to reach the goals one has set up for them self. I took up a project a couple of years ago to develop my own 30 year aged rum. I did it without consulting anyone and created a profile that was something I would like, taking the risk that others may not feel the same way. I was happy to succeed and people loved it.

3) Favorite Drink + Recipe

I am not a fan of mixed drinks because I am not really in to sweet drinks. I do consider the best cocktail to be a classic rum, sugar, lime, and mint, also known as a mojito. I don´t like rum and cokes.

4) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?

I see it being on the top. Right now the rum category is positioning itself in a very important way. The industrial rums are falling behind in relation to quality but the premium, aged and rums formulated using the true characteristics of rum are creating a positive outlook for the image of the category.

5) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you.

The first mentor I ever had in the rum industry was with me since I was a child, my father. Later on, once I earned my degree in Bio Chemistry and my specialization in microbiology, I had another Cuban mentor. He was a mentor who definitely knew everything about rum. I am talking about Ramon Fernandez Corrales (RIP). Almost everything I learned was from him. With the gift of good taste buds I got from my genetics and great mentors I have had a lot of success in the industry. My unique palate has given me the ability to develop many products based on what I like, and the results have been amazing.

6) Any last words?

I am very excited about my latest child, Ron Duran. I have seen it grow with great success that began in Panama and I am watching as it now reaches to expand internationally where I believe it will exemplify the future of the rum industry.

Author: Fede

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