Betting on ours
By Vanessa Santana Hernández
How I like to say this… that here we are “roneros”.
That flavour that speaks of our history and heritage, why do we have this knowledge?
Little is said about the history of sugar and rum in the Canary Islands or on the island of Gran Canaria, when someone says: “we are a land of potatoes and mojos”, I always answer and much more, like rum.
We have to travel back in time to talk about the history of rum, back in 1493. In Gran Canaria, the sugar “industry” arrived and it is said that by the 18th century in Arucas, the monks were already distilling rum in the convents.
This was when the Canary Islands positioned themselves as sugar cane growers and also with the installation of sugar mills, sugar was an appreciated commodity and although it was not easy to produce and the crops were long, it was worth it. It was a product that paid (and pays) very well.
There were sugar mills in Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, but the island that made the biggest bet was Gran Canaria. The island positioned itself throughout Europe as a major producer of sugar, until cultivation moved to the Americas and competition grew, and here, the industry dwindled until it disappeared.
By the 19th century, they specialised in the manufacture of rum and sugar cane spirit. In addition, sugar cane honeys were very popular.
This drink did not gain a foothold on the islands until 1884, when the San Pedro sugar factory was founded, which today is the oldest distillery in Spain.
Today that feeling is more alive than ever thanks to the Arehucas distillery in Arucas. Not only because it is a great distillery, but also because they keep alive the cultivation of sugar cane and that moment called the zafra, which we are living.
It is a centenary company that has received more than 95,000 thousand visitors a year and thanks to it the rum history of the island is kept alive.
Have you visited the distillery?
Don’t hesitate to pay a visit, it’s worthwhile to learn about its history and taste these rums.