For hundreds of years Arehucas was the centre of sugar production from sugar cane on Gran Canaria. Today it is home to a distillery producing a famous Canarian rum.
A Short History of Arehucas Distillery in Gran Canaria
The pre-curser of Destilerias Arehucas (Arehucas Distillery), La Fábrica de San Pedro, was founded in 1884. Its main purpose was the production of sugar from the sugar cane that flourished in the area. But it also produced rum. Then, when the production of sugar from sugar cane in Gran Canaria became uneconomical Don Alfredo Reyes, the current owner of La Fábrica, was quick to adapt the original buildings in order to concentrate on the production of rum. The factory ceased procuding suger. By this time the distillery was famous for its selection of rums to suit all tastes. Today, the rums are still matured in the Arehucas Rum Cellar. The cellar is over one-hundred years old this cellar and contains more than 4,300 American oak casks.
A Tour of Arehucas Distillery in Gran Canaria
We were shown around the Arehucas Distillery by its Director, of Commicantions and Tourism, César Arencibia, who took us on a fascinating stroll through the rum production process and the history of the distillery.
Our tour started in a courtyard, surrounded by the buildings of the factory and the original industrial chimney that has been refurbished and is still used in the distilling process. The yard also features a small plot of sugar cane so we could see the raw material. After the sugar cane has been harvested it is crushed to extract the juice. The residue of the plants is used as fertiliser 0 nothing is wasted here. The juice is allowed to ferment to make sugar cane wine. Once fermented the wine is put through a distilling process
The distilled liquid is put into oak barrels and left to age in the best possible conditions. Strolling through the huge storage area we noticed autographs and paintings on the barrels. A tradition has been established that famous visitors leave their mark, for example, a self-portrait of Alberto Manrique a Gran Canarian artist. As well as walking us through the rum distilling process he showed us how the shape of the bottles that contain the rum have changed since the production of rum started here at the end of the nineteenth century.
Different varieties of the rum produced here are aged for different periods for example, the Arehucas Golden Rums mature for 3 years, 7 years and 12 years, up to a maximum of 20 years before they are bottled.
During our tour we walked through a little museum documenting the history of Arehucas. The bottles on display range from the origin design to the present day. We ended our tour in the Tasting Room. We started by tasting a very young, colourless rum. Then we moved on to a 7-year-old rum and finally a 40 year old rum. After that we were invited to try some rum based liqueurs (which, according to European legislation cannot be considered rum.)
Deprived of an opportunity to display their rum when the annual carnival was suspended due to to the Covid pandemic Arehucas produced some exquisite carnival creations now on display in the distillery. A tribute to a historical enterprise that deserves its nickname, the Cradle of Rum.
Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing four books she turned to online travel writing.