1830 “El Mallorquín”
In the mid-nineteenth century, a Spanish steamer used to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Her name was ” El Mallorquín” and was under the command of Don Juan Suau y Bennaser. In addition to his duties as commander of ” El Mallorquín” ” Juan Suau was a restless businessman who set up an aniseed and other typical Caribbean products business in Cuba. Distilling rum was also part of the business, and to this end he exported to Cuba half a dozen copper stills, which were in common use in the XIX century.
When Captain Suau began his enterprise, the previously vast Spanish Empire had been reduced to just two territories, Puerto Rico and Cuba… both in the Caribbean. This did not stop him from extending his voyages to Veracruz, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santo Domingo and Haiti, in addition to his voyages in the Mediterranean and around Atlantic Europe.
In one of his port calls in Mallorca, he fell in love with the daughter of a Spaniard who had been involved in the liquor business in Spain and America for generations. The girl´s parents did not put barriers to this budding love affair, but before granting her hand and letting the Captain take her to the altar, he had to do two things: give up sailing and his overseas business ventures, as they did not want their only child living so far away. The bride´s demands and the willingness of Suau to accept them are, both from an historical and a human perspective, easy to understand.
In the old Cuba, back in the 1830s, some voices were already calling for Independence, first with courteous appeals to the Crown and later with gunpowder and bullets.
1850 Anisette “La Paloma”
Captain Suau sold his ship, but not his business. By 1851 he had installed the business in Palma making what he knew how to make best: traditional Caribbean drinks. He brought to Palma the precious stills and countless tools used in the liquor industry. Today, these are kept as treasures in our museum, which was opened two years ago in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Bodegas y Destilerias Suau in Mallorca. The event commemorated a very important date, the birth of our company in the liquors market of the Balearic Island, making us the oldest of its kind.
Links with the overseas remained healthy, as Captain Suau had sweethearts of all kinds: we exported anisette to Mexico, the Dutch Antilles and Buenos Aires. Pancho Villa, the legendary Mexican general, was a regular and respected customer in our Majorcan distillery: the best anisettes were for him and his troops, as the famous anisette “La Paloma” The neighbourhood where this anisette was made was named after it. Probably one of the battles won by our famous customer was named also “La Paloma”. Possibly the same liquor comforted him after a disaster.
In our last stage we focused on two products: Herbs Liqueur and Brandy … We started producing the latter around seventy years ago. Around 20 years ago, we stopped producing the other drinks.
1851 The Era of Brandy
This move was due to the high quality of our brandy and the warmth and enthusiasm with which it was received everywhere.
There is also a story around the brandy: Before producing the 1851 brand, we had been manufacturing different brandy’s such as “Madelon” “Jaime I”, “1229” (highly sought after by collectors nowadays).
In 1951, while commemorating our one hundred years of existence in Mallorca and being aware of the excellent quality of our brandy, we launched the brandy commonly know as “El barquito”. Thanks to devoting many years to countless quality tests, we can proudly claim that our brand´s Private Reserve, in less than 50 years has become a flagship of the Majorcan identity. And as a sailboat represents an extending of voyages, it is a sign of survival and willingness to bring part of our sea and our land to other seas and other lands. Our Private Reserve is not our only star product, the 15 and 25 year-old brandies are equally excellent.
Our manufacturing process is completely artisanal. We preserve all our barrels, each year only those that have reached the end of their cycle are renewed. We know that our quality relies on the silence, microclimate and length of time spent in our underground cellars, protected by a 180cm-thick wall, sealed away from outside smells and noises. Our brandy, pure in spirit, stirs in its half-lit stone tomb and when the time is right, it gladly resurrects.
1989 Club Suau
The setting up of our Club Suau was an idea of Angel Zuastu, our expert, now retired and greatly missed.
It was a visionary idea which delivered excellent results. Aware of the value of our product, he embarked on the enterprise of creating the idea of a private club called “Amigos de Suau ” (“Suau´s friends”).
Each club member buys a 32-litre barrel. Only ourselves, or the member and ourselves together, are allowed to handle it. The member owns the brandy, the product stays in our cellars, and he or she can take at most 8 litres per year, more than this is not permitted, as this is the requirement to keep using our brand.
In 10 years the club sold 200 barrels and in the last two years 125 more have been sold. Suau is in charge of replenishing the brandy which is lost through evaporation, to maintain its slow aging process.
Those who bought a barrel 10 years ago, filled with a 15-year-old brandy, have now a 25-year-old brandy of outstanding quality since the amount of liquid in contact with the oak wood is greater than when large barrels are use .
The Club, an important source of financing for the company, has created a community devoted to debating the excellence of the drink and a feeling of partnership, as the annual party shows. The company has set up a “numerus clausus “. The Club can never exceed 500 members. And it always has our appreciation and gratitude.