The history of Varela Hermanos, S.A dates back to 1908, when Don José Varela Blanco, a young Spanish immigrant, established in the town of Pesé the San Isidro Sugar Mill, the first sugar mill in the recently formed Republic of Panamá.
Pesé, founded in the mid XVIII Century, is located on a fertile valley in the center of Panamá. The main activity of its population of about 10,000 people is the cultivation of sugar cane.
In 1936, following the wishes of his three sons –José Manuel, Plinio, and Julio– Don José began the distillation of alcohol from sugar cane juice for the production of distilled spirits. From the very beginning, he was recognized for the extraordinary quality of his products. Since then, Varela Hermanos S.A. has maintained leadership in the distilled spirits industry..
At the Don José Distillery, a modern installation that opened in 1976 and replaced the original distillery, the industrial process starts with the milling and extraction of the sugar cane juice destined for our non-rum products, such as Seco Herrerano. For the production of Ron Abuelo, 100% Panamanian Estate grown virgin sugar cane honey are prepared and controlled for the rest of the process. These are prepared, fermented and distilled utilizing an advanced stainless steel column system, where fresh rum or “aguardiente” is obtained, and then used exclusively to produce the company’s best selling product: Ron Abuelo..
Today, almost a century after Don José started operations in Pesé, the third generation directs Varela Hermanos, S.A. — the leading producer of distilled spirits in Panamá — continuing the same family traditions.
With a solid production infrastructure, and the passion and dedication of our entire workforce, we have positioned ourselves with major presence in the international marketplace as exporters of fine rums and spirits..
Varela Hermanos is focused on producing the world’s #1 aged rum, Ron Abuelo. Toward that end, Varela Hermanos remains committed to their heritage, traditions, and quality. Additionally, the company is investing in new technology and facilities, expanding family-owned sugar cane plantations, and supporting the local community.
Acting as proud ambassadors of Panamá, they aim to introduce people throughout the world to both their beloved home country as well as the fine rums by Ron Abuelo.
As the third-generation, Luis J. Varela Jr. explains, “From very early days, the Varela family has been known for its commitment to exceptional quality. The aged rum category allows us to best express our craftsmanship, and as more and more consumers try Ron Abuelo, we know they will recognize our superior taste, smoothness and complexity. That is the best compliment we could receive.”.