Jacksonville's manufacturing scene is a Florida anomaly. Here's a list a few products being produced locally that you may find surprising.
1. Bacardi USA
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Bacardi was founded in 1892 by Facundo Bacardi Masso. Since then, it has remained a family business for over seven generations. At the time of Bacardi’s beginning, rum was not considered a refined drink and was rarely sold in markets and taverns. He decided to try something new, isolating a certain type of yeast in the rum. He also filtered it through charcoal and used white oak barrels. The result was the world’s first white rum; the Bacardi we know and love today. Facundo and his brother bought a distillery in 1862. This distillery was infested with fruit bats, inspiring Bacardi’s logo.
Bacardi grew internationally, with generation after generation helping to run the business. The Cuban Revolution caused some turbulence for both the Bacardi family and the company. The Bacardi family had maintained a fierce opposition to Fidel Castro's revolution. So, the Castro regime confiscated the company’s Cuban assets on 15 October 1960, particularly nationalizing and banning all private property on the island as well as all bank accounts, forcing the family, and the business, to move from Cuba.
While Bacardi is still not sold in Cuba today, it is widely popular internationally. The company employs over 6,000 people, manufactures at nearly 30 different facilities across 4 continents, and they now have more than 200 brands in their portfolio.
Bacardi's 92-acre Jacksonville bottling plant, at 12200 North Main Street, is the company's largest in the Americas region. It produces nearly 45,000 cases of rum daily and supplies absolutely all of the Bacardi rum available and consumed in the US. It also serves as Bacardi's headquarters for global product research and development.