Bacardi releases biographical comic

Rum giant Bacardi has released a graphic novel looking back at the history of the brand and its origins in Cuba, focussing on the turbulent life of the son of the company’s founder.


Artistic: a tile from The Spirit of Bacardi graphic novel

The Spirit of Bacardi – created with the help of famed writer Warren Ellis and artist Michael Allred – tells the story of Emilio Bacardi and his work for Cuban independence in the late 1800s.

The unique marketing move by Bacardi is an attempt, as chief marketing officer Andy Gibson said, to attract new ‘millenial’ customers who view authenticity as “increasingly important” in a brand.

“While first and foremost we want the graphic novel to be entertaining, we are also saying something important about our brand; that we have the heritage to back up our attitude,” added Gibson.

As the comic illustrates, the young Bacardi was repeatedly imprisoned and exiled for his work, but eventually became the first freely-elected Mayor of Santiago de Cuba.

The comic also touches on the challenges faced by the Bacardi business in its early days, including a fire that destroyed the distillery, and ends with the creation of the original Cuba Libre cocktail in 1900.

Drops of Bacardi Gold rum were added to the ink used in the making of the comic book.

Writer Warren Ellis said, “Storytelling requires great characters, and in Emilio Bacardí we have exactly that. Emilio was a patriot, passionate about his homeland of Cuba. My focus was to bring his drive and determination to life.”

A short film documenting the creation of the comic has also been released, and can be viewed below.

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