Gold Medal, 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
First super-premium White Rum from Fresh Cut Brazilian Mountain Cane
Oronoco is a product of renowned cachaca makers Vicente and Roberto Bastos Ribeiro’s passion for creating high quality distillates.
Fazenda Soledade, the home of Oronoco, is located on the lush mountain slopes of Novo Friburgo in the highlands of Rio de Janeiro state. Known typically for it’s cachacas, Brazil played a key role in creating rum as we know it today, with its native crop, sugar cane—one of the most valuable commodities of the 17 th century.
In the early 1600’s, the Dutch occupied the Northeast of Brazil to control sugar cane production until being forced out by the Portuguese in 1654. The Dutch then brought the sugar cane plant and their acquired expertise in sugar cane distillation to the Caribbean , giving birth to the modern rum industry. The Bastos Ribeiro’s brothers have brought this story full circle with Oronoco Rum.
The Bastos Ribeiro Brothers
Vicente and Roberto Bastos Ribiero represent a grand Brazilian archetype: the descendants of immigrants who came to Brazil to make a living off a rich and bountiful land. The Bastos Ribeiros have turned their own passions for artisanal quality, technique and regional pride to create products of refined taste and superior quality.
Until now, the Bastos Ribieros have been most famous for their cachacas— Brazil ’s native, sugar-cane distilled spirit-produced on their farm, Fazenda Soledade. Megasulo, a top-shelf cachaca recognized as one of Brazil ’s best, helped their company to attain the status of the country’s largest cachaca exporter.
Their story begins with the Atlantic crossing of their forefathers, Italian immigrants who settled in the highlands of Rio de Janeiro state in the 1800s to work on the lush coffee plantations found on the mountainsides of the Paraibe do Sul region. This area was made famous when the Portuguese emperor Don Pedro II and members of his family built lavish houses and churches in the alpine towns as an escape from the summer heat in Rio . Not only could they see the beauty of the landscape’s rainforest valleys and (sometimes) snow-covered peaks, they realized that this was a uniquely fertile agricultural jewel. As a result they encouraged other Europeans to settle and build farms there.
The Bastos Ribeiros made their home here, and, in 1974, Roberto’s and Vicente’s older brother Jaimundo began producing sprits at Fazenda Soledade. During this time, Roberto and Vicente were working as economists for various companies and in different countries. But both of them saw how cachaca’s reputation—then known as a cheaply produced and often harsh liquor—could be changed by using refined techniques. They came home to build up the family’s cachaca and rum business, and, in 1986, began exporting to the United States .
In their quest to make a better spirit, they have not forgotten about giving back to the land that provides the bounty for their product. Vicente is an active member of BNG2, a non-governmental organization that supports environmentally friendly practices and preservation of natural resources. The brothers incorporate this passion for nature into their work by growing eucalyptus trees imported from Australia to burn as a source of energy in their distillation process. They also believe in supporting local growers to encourage sustainable farming practices.
The Bastos Ribeiros have elevated their company’s profile in prestige spirit production to one of the highest in the world, and they hope to build on that with the release of Oronoco Rum.