Luckily Puerto Rico was home to one of great figures in rum making, Rafael Arroyo, who in 1936 had embarked on the first serious scientific study of rum production. Arroyo’s investigations were interrupted during World War II, but afterward his studies became more relevant than ever and are still regarded as essential reading for rum distillers. In 1953, the Planta Piloto de Ron (Rum Pilot Plant) was founded, its brief to investigate every aspect of rum-making and pass on the information, free, to any distiller who wanted to use it – whether based in Puerto Rico or not. The result: the creation of the lighter-bodied style of rum that still dominates the world. Today, Puerto Rico produces 35 million proof gallons of rum a year, the bulk of which is exported to America.
More than 80% of rum consumed in the US is produced in Puerto Rico.