- Not every sixteenth century Spanish conquistador was in search the fabled golden city of El Dorado. Juan Ponce de Leon was obsessed with the fountain of youth. The fountain evaded him but in 1682, his great-grandson founded the city of Ponce and his name lives on as one of the most beautiful cities in Puerto Rico.
The land between the Caribbean Sea and the mountains in the center of the island provided the right combination of soil, rain, and climate to become the center of the Puerto Rican sugar business. In spite of the fact that the sugar business has declined in the last two decades the production of rum, or ron as it is known in Spanish, is actually increasing.
In the second decade of the nineteenth century Sebastian Serralles came from Catalonia, Spain and bought a small plot of land known as the Hacienda Teresa. As was common at that time crude rum was made from fermenting the molasses which was the residual product of the sugar making process. Around 1845 Sebastián Serralles left Puerto Rico for Barcelona and left the growing estate in the hands of his Puerto Rico born son Don Juan Serralles Colon.
In 1865, a five-tray pot still was imported from France which can be seen today at the Castillo Serralles above the city of Ponce. Rum from this still made a name for the hacienda as a producer of fine spirits.
After Prohibition, with a burgeoning market and an established reputation, a new distillery was built and the Don Q label was inaugurated. Just east of the Mercedita airport the name Don Q can be seen on the distillery smokestack. Today Don Q, named after the famous character of Spanish literature, Don Quijote, means rum in Puerto Rico. The tradition of Serralles rum has been handed from generation to generation. Destileria Serralles, Inc. is still headed by the Serralles family and many of the today's 375 employees are descendants of the people who built the company more than one hundred years ago.
Until recently the molasses used to make Serralles rum came from the Central Mercedita sugar mill and Snow White Sugar American Sugar Company next to the distillery. Today molasses arrives from other Caribbean suppliers via tanker at the port in Ponce. Proprietary yeast is then carefully cultivated and introduced to the clarified molasses wash where it ferments for thirty-six hours.
Since the distillery was built in 1935 it has been upgraded and now includes six continuous distillation columns. During the fermentation and distillation process, temperature, pressure and flow are carefully controlled to produce several distillates which are later blended to produce a variety of spirits.
The Serralles distillery has grown to a capacity of over 30,000 proof gallons per day and warehouses contain over 160,000 barrels of aging rum. Neutral spirits are also produced to be bottled as vodka, gin, and cordials.
In addition to White and Gold 151 Proof, Añejo, and Grand Añejo Don Q, Serralles also ages and bottles Palo Viejo, Ron Llave, Ron Granado, Boca Chica, Ronrico, and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum in Camuy. The latter under contract from Diageo. Serralles is also the distribution representative for a number of wines, scotch, whiskey, and other specialty liquors. There is no public distillery tour at this time but two retail outlets called La Cava, located at Fernandez Juncos Ave. #646 in Miramar and at the Mercedita distillery, offer the complete line of products made or distributed by Serralles.
- There are 11 products in our database distilled by Destileria Serralles, Inc..
- Black Beard Spiced Rum
- Don Q Añejo
- Don Q Coco
- Don Q Cristal
- Don Q Gold
- Don Q Gran Añejo
- Don Q Limón
- Don Q Mojito
- Don Q Pasión
- Palo Viejo Dark Rum
- Palo Viejo Light Rum