Bundaberg Rum distillery was founded by seven Queenslanders who realize there’s got to be a better use for the burgeoning sugar industry than making cake, Bundaberg Distillery is established with an initial production team of only five men. Rum was already popular in Australia thanks to the First Fleet, but from what we hear, it tasted pretty bad. The year was 1888, and the world of Bundaberg rum was under way.
In 1889, 22,500 gallons of Bundaberg rolled off the production line. Why start small when you dream big? In 1890, the first batch was sent to Western Australia, where it went down a treat. Sydney and Melbourne were next in line and Bundaberg was becoming a national favourite. Between 1890 and 1893, a crippling economic depression leads the new distillery into receivership. Three upstanding men buy it back and Bundaberg lives to drink another day. We assume they were very smart businessmen, or maybe they just really liked rum. Sadly in 1907, a small fire broke out in the distillery, and the flames burnt causing a lot of damage. This wasn't the worst, nor the only fire Bundaberg would suffer. 1936 and once again Bundaberg went up in flames. A lightning strike sparks an explosion which would destroy the distillery. Despite the hours of work from civilians, fire-fighters police, the building was burnt out, with gallons of sweet molasses flowing into the Burnett River which soon set alight, marinating and cooking a whole load of fish..yum!
After three years of hard work, Bundaberg distillery was rebuilt and in 1939, the distilling of rum was back on track. This is the same building used today.
During the War, American soliders based in Australia began to get a taste of Bundaberg, and were soon mixing it with cola. The growing trend was boticed by the makers of Bundaberg, and the first ever premixed drink of rum & cola was bottled and sold..A true sign of innovation.
Until the 1960's, Bundaberg was still sold in barrels, with varying agents putting their own labels on them. In 1953, Bundaberg took their first steps towards cementing their brand, and ran a radio competition to find the best slogan. Meanwhile, the agency organised a secret pre-registered name of "Bundy Rum" which they sold back to their clients for a pretty considerable profit. 1961, and the iconic label was born. The business end of the Bundaberg Rum brand is tied up with Sam McMahon, the gifted marketer and brother of future Australian PM, William. Sam came up with the polar bear featured on every bottle, alongside the square bottle itself and the yellow label, recognised worldwide.
In 1974, Bundaberg distillery began to not only produce their rum at the distillery, but also began to bottle it, so from start to finish, every process is done at their place. As time went by, Bundaberg began to consider other variants, and in 1985, they set aside a vat for maturation which would last a decade. The premium, limited edition Bundaberg Black label went down a storm!
Bundaberg has survived fires and floods, and still stands today, producing the delicious Australian rum which is enjoyed all over the world.Read More