Hacienda Santa Ana: Home of Ron del Barrilito

2019- New Visitors center has opened and there are now tours and tastings. Book your tour today from their website: https://rondelbarrilito.com/tours/ .

Hacienda Santa Ana - Ron del Barrilito

I love old, historic buildings and rum, so of course I had to make a point to visit Hacienda Santa Ana — the home of Ron del Barrilito, one of the local Puerto Rican rum producers. Their rum is made and aged here, on the family’s property, which used to be an old sugar hacienda. They don’t offer formal tours nor samples, but if you are in the Bayamón area, this might be a place for a quick photo-stop. And if you make an appointment ahead of time and someone is available, you may get walked around the place and given a little tour.

Some History

Hacienda Santa Ana - Ron del Barrilito

The Fernández family has owned Hacienda Santa Ana in Bayamón since 1797. It used to be a sugar cane plantation and, like many sugar plantations back in the day, they made some rum for personal use.

In 1880, Pedro Fernández started selling his family’s rum under the name Ron del Barrilito (rum from the little barrel) — named after the barrels they used to age the rum. Today, the family continues to make rum here, using the family’s same blending and aging practices.

Our Visit

Hacienda Santa Ana - Ron del Barrilito

First off, it should be noted that this facility is not set up for tours. There is no guide, showroom, nor rum tasting. If you show up, you might be lucky enough to have one of the family members stop working long enough to show you around. But really, this is not something they can do too often.

This trip should only be for people who really appreciate historic buildings and Ron Barrilto! With that said, the Fernández family keeps the gates open, and they are OK with the occasional visitor.

Hacienda Santa Ana - Ron del Barrilito

We arrived and parked along the gravel driveway. There is a beautiful old hacienda house, with a large staircase. There looks like some old workers’ quarters, and right in the middle of the property are the ruins of an old windmill (dated 1827). But don’t be fooled — inside that windmill is the air-conditioned office!

We hadn’t called ahead of time, so we kind of walked toward the open doors of the “factory”. When we got there, the workers were hand-labeling hundreds of bottles of rum. It was pretty cool to see.

Hacienda Santa Ana - Ron del Barrilito

A couple minutes after we arrived, Señor Manuel Fernández came out of the office, and graciously offered to show us around and explain their process.

They don’t actually distill rum here. They buy raw, distilled alcohol from local distilleries, and then work their magic to produce their unique rum.

They blend it (according to their decades-old family recipe), and then set it to age in charred sherry wine barrels. This is different than other rum producers in Puerto Rico — all the others age their rum in charred whisky barrels, and then they blend the aged spirits.

Hacienda Santa Ana - Ron del Barrilito

Ron del Barrilto produces three types of rum — 2-Star, 3-star and 5-Star (the number of stars are on the label). The 2-Star gold rum is aged 3 years, while the 3-Star gold rum is a mixture of rums that are aged between 6 to 10 years. The new 5 star is well aged rum , some up to 35 years old, blended to perfection.

This is not a huge operation, but it is a true Puerto Rican rum, and a favorite of local Puerto Ricans.

We were not able to get into the storage are where they age the rum that day (long story), but normally you can go in there and see all the barrels stacked up. I was a little bummed but what can you do?

Hacienda Santa Ana - Ron del Barrilito

Señor Fernández was so nice, answering all my stupid questions, but I did feel a little bad taking him away from his work!

Since they don’t offer samples to taste, make sure to taste their rums beforehand. If you want some good quality sipping rum, they will sell you a 3-pack of the 3-Star gold rum for less than you’ll find it elsewhere on the island.

Details

Hacienda Santa Ana - Ron del Barrilito

They are open Monday through Thursdayfrom 8am to 11:30a and 1pm to 4:30pm. Fridays- only 8-11:30a, closed weekends.

Remember that they do not offer formal tours. They ask you request a visit before showing up-either by calling or online-via their website . If you go without a request, you are basically showing up and hoping they will let you walk around.

You can call Ron del Barrilito for more information at 787-785-3490.

From the San Juan area, take Route 22 west to exit 10. Then take Route 5 south. Continue on Route 5 until you see a small exit to the right that goes toward Route 28. Get off at that exit, but instead of turning left to get onto Route 28, continue straight through the stop sign. Hacienda Santa Ana / Ron del Barrilito is just on the right side, past the small paved lot on the corner. Look for their sign (pictured here). Drive in through the open gate and park.

We are in the process of updating the maps we use on our web site. While we're working on that, you can click on the GPS coordinates below to view the location on Google Maps ...

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 12 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

This is now open for tours. It was very enjoyable and the brand new visitors center is absolutely gorgeous.

Comment by Jennifer Jones on 19 Aug 2019

Sad to see that someone is trolling this site with false accusations of slave ownership. As distant friends of the Fernandez family, I can state categorically that they were not slave-holders building their business on the back of the oppressed. I can say, however, that, upon our move to PR from Corsica, my ancestors did have a couple of "slaves" who were basically cast-off individuals with no means of support and were given food and shelter in return for work. This would have been in the 1820's - a far different world from any today. Were there slaves in the true sense? Yes...and for those living in the past with political extortion as their priority, shrill ideologues like "The Truth Teller" are still around to capitalize off miseries and distortions lost to the fog of time.

Comment by Pedro Mattei on 05 Jan 2019

You would have to confirm with the company directly. The color comes from the oak barrels. Corn is not used in rum making. The sugar cane...I have no idea.

Comment by Gwenn on 28 Oct 2016

Does anyone know if this rum is caramel and chemical free? also is it from non gmo sugar and corn?

Comment by nonome on 26 Oct 2016

We (PRDayTrips.com) don't sell anything. You would need to contact Ron Barrilito directly. But I am pretty sure their answer will be no as they don't have a shop.

Comment by Gwenn on 18 Jun 2015

Do you sell and ship to Philadelphia?

Comment by RJ Runowski on 16 Jun 2015

Sadly, slavery was a fact of life during that period, here in PR and in the States and Europe. If you are interested in the history of slavery and sugar/rum plantations, Hacienda Esperanza does a nice tour.

Comment by Gwenn on 16 Mar 2015

This rum is the best kept secret in the world! However, you failed to realize that the "worker" housing is actually slave housing! This family made most of their wealth off of slave labor, a very important point. Notably, the slaves built the giant windmill, and were forced to turned the vast arms when there was not wind. Who would want to belong to such a family with such a legacy? This family (Fernández) of Bayemon should track down the descendants of the slaves they oppressed, tortured, raped and murdered, and pay them a sizable fee from every evil bottle. Anyone can Google this information.

Comment by The Truth Teller on 15 Mar 2015

A classmate of mine from law school got his hands on a real barrilito from the distillery. It may have been sold years ago as a promotional item. Unfortunately the wood had dried out and cracked but it was a great conversational piece for Boricuas that the know that Barrilito is the penultimate rum of Puerto Rico.

Comment by Reinaldo Luis Andujar on 18 Aug 2014

Great gold aged rum from PR!! Puerto Rico is more of a white rum type of island (eg: Don Q Cristal (best), Bacardí (average), Palo Viejo (low quality), Pitorro (moonshine/illegal rum), Chichaíto (anise-flavored Palo Viejo, now available in other flavors). However, if you insist on looking for gold/amber rum from PR, this is your best bet and the one I drink the most when it comes to non-white rums (gold/dark). You can get it at most supermarkets, Walmart, even at the airport. I've never visited the factory even though I'm originally from Bayamón (now living in San Juan). However, it makes sense that it would be cheaper here since you're cutting out the middleman. You can also get it at most bars, especially in Old San Juan. Mixed with coconut water, delicious, but the bartender has to know the right proportions. We also drink shots of it but it's mostly when we're teenagers (18,19 yrs. old). Try it! Two stars, three stars...I think you won't be disappointed and it's a little less known than Bacardi and Don Q (for tourists), so you can brag! :P PS: I don't really drink Don Q Gold or Bacardi Gold.

Comment by Eps on 15 May 2014

The workers did not speak English, but the owner did. You can ask him for the 3 bottle pack. Lovely place.

Comment by Gwenn on 19 Apr 2014

My father asked me to get him some 3 star while in PR..my wife and I drove there on Friday but it was closed (for Good Friday I imagine). Did they speak English? Also, did you ask for the rum or is there some sign offering it? Thanks in advance, trying to get back there before we leave!

Comment by Tyler on 19 Apr 2014

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