Originally posted 05 July 2012
Anywhere sugar is grown, rum is made, though in many cases it is all consumed locally and documentation is hard to find. Some sugar is grown in coastal Ecuador, and the friendly people at Cristal rum company sent me a few examples of labels and old pictures of rum production.
The white rum was branded as “Aguardiente Superior,” and the slogan translates to “For the Toast that Lasts.” I don’t know the date, but from the fashions I would guess this to be from the 1960’s. Here is a picture of the bottling line, featuring someone who looks eerily like a young Peter Lorre filling the bottles:
…And here is the cane crushing equipment, which looks unchanged from that used in the Victorian era:
Cristal claims an interesting heritage for their product, namely that the Incas who inhabited Ecuador made a type of beer from local sweet grasses, and the regional taste in alcohol reflects that heritage. I have never seen documentation for any traditional Andean alcoholic beverages except those like chicha made from corn, but would be interested in learning more.