Serralles Distillery Master Blender Liza Cordero

Published by The Rumlab ago

Serralles Distillery Master Blender Liza Cordero article cover image

Liza Cordero is a Chemical Engineer, who graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus in 1994. Throughout her career, she has worked in different companies, such as the petrochemical and biotech industry. However, in 2001, she wanted a change, something different, this is when Serralles appears in her life,

Since 2001, she has been in charge of the Fermentation and Distillation Operations. In 2012, she was promoted to Process Director, adding to her previous responsibilities, the Wastewater Operations. And now, as the master blender since the end of 2021, she has the amazing responsibility to create new and innovative products that will captivate the attention of customers. She recognizes that this can only be created by handpicking the rums that will be part of the unique blends when creating new premium rums and which guarantee a complete and mouth-filling experience when tasting.

TRL: What does the rum mean to you? What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?

My love for rum started when I changed my life.

I started my chemical engineering career working for different industries, but after 7 years; I started looking for a change, a new challenge, something out of what is considered to be a normal career path for any chemical engineer. That is when an opportunity at Serralles Distillery appears in my life. I did not hesitate to accept the challenge of working for the best distillery in Puerto Rico and which produces the best and most authentic Puerto Rican Rum.

This decision has been the best one I have ever made! 21 years have already passed and I am hoping for many more to come. Working in the Rum Industry has made my life complete; rum defines me, and what I am truly passionate about. It has allowed me to be part of something special, to be creative and, most of all, get to be part of the history of making Don Q Rum.

TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.

• Personality

• Consistency

• Has to create an experience when tasted.

TRL: What is the most important contribution you have made to the rum industry?

Educate consumers on what is involved in producing a rum of excellent quality. I offer them many details of rum processing that sometimes are not talked about and even pass along unspoken.

TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you

I have met a lot of wonderful and passionate people in this business. Also, I have offered seminars on how I started in this business, what is my current role and how I go to where I am right now, and how I have been responsible in every part of making the best rum there is. Also, through master classes, I get to share with people everything you can experience when tasting our rum.

TRL: What’s another thing you are passionate about besides rum? Why?

Being a mentor to younger engineers. It is so rewarding when you talk to them about this type of industry and see how that passion, that compromise, that responsibility, builds up in each one of them. For me, it is so important to share my experiences with them and the importance of being passionate and dedicated in everything that you do. This is the true key to success.

TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?

Where there is wonderful music and good friends. Don Q is the best rum for creating memorable moments!

TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe

Reserva 7 in cocktails. However, I always ask mixologists to prepare unique and unusual cocktails with my rum. Each one of them comes with a great story and an excellent experience.

TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?

There are a lot of misconceptions about rum. Some examples are that rum is sweet, the rum industry is not being regulated, types of rum, etc. We have the responsibility to change this perspective. We need to provide our customers with information about how rum is made, the importance of aging and the transformation that we’re able to achieve throughout this unique process, what is involved in blending, and what differentiates a rum from the other. And the way we can achieve this is by being transparent about how we make rum. There are rules in this industry and we need to use them as our guidelines for the best practices. In this way, we will continue to elevate this category.

TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?

Start enjoying the experience from the very beginning. Strat y opening the bottle since the aroma instantly comes out of it. Pour a small amount into a glass, and start moving the rum across it, admiring its texture and color. Then continue to admire the aromas that the rum offers, and do it several times because a distinct character will always emerge and surprise you. Finally, drink a small amount, let it play and fill your mouth and close your eyes before swallowing slowly and enjoy!

TRL: How can rum contribute to improving the crisis in some countries?

Definitely in agricultural-related matters. Molasses demand continues to grow and we need more countries to grow sugar cane for us to have this raw material.

TRL: Is the commitment to sustainable development the key to success for the permanence of the rum industry in the world? Why?

Having a sustainable operation is a must for this industry. Rum manufacturing relies on nature and the environment for its existence. Our raw material availability depends on how the environment is reacting to many years in which we took it for granted. So, to be respectful, we must implement practices that respect what nature is allowing us to have.

In Destilería Serralles, we have been working on reducing greenhouse gases by installing solar panels, which generate about 3 3 MW, and a turbine that generates approximately 500 kW. This is about 60% of the plant’s consumption. Also, we have reduced the usage of fossil fuel by alcohol burning in the boiler. We have worked on changing packing material to lower our hazardous waste disposal. Currently, we are working on several efforts for recycling a vast number of water effluent streams to the very front end of our water processing plant for decreasing the raw water usage in our process. In this way, we protect our natural water resources. Also, our effluent is biologically treated in our anaerobic and aerobic digesters prior to discharging in our irrigation field.

TRL: Who would like to meet in the rum industry? What would you say to him/her?

I would like to meet every woman that is currently elevating this category. It will be an honor. I will tell them we have also made this industry ours, That our contribution is being valued more every day, and this is thanks to our commitment, sense of responsibility, compromise, and most of all, thanks to our passion and desire to offer an excellent product to our customers. We have proven to be motivated by our innate need to always make a difference and, most of all, to prove that we can achieve everything that we put our minds and heart to.

TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?

To continue developing new and innovative products that follow the current trends towards premium, flavored rums and cocktails, which is the emerging culture nowadays, but always honoring the traditional way of making rum. Customers like different tastes in rum, something that is peculiar and can be enjoyed in a good cocktail.

TRL: Plans you have when you leave the rum industry.

That is a good question. I have not thought about that yet. I am enjoying too much where I am and doing right now. I want to be part of this industry as much as life allows me to be in it.

TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?

Because their creativity and success are the best confirmation that our products offer them the desired profile, taste, and aroma that they need for their creations. Rum is the baseline for their masterpiece! They are the best educators in the rum industry.

TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?

To embrace everything that happens in your life, every moment, every minute, every situation. Every challenge has its purpose and its lesson. Persevere in what you want to achieve and trust yourself. Also, learn from others because every person has something to teach you. Honoring your values will get you through your personal and professional life. Always pay attention to what the market is telling you through their tendencies, and remember that creating an excellent product requires a lot of patience, dedication, and compromise.

TRL: How can people learn more about you? Website? Social media page?https://www.instagram.com/lizona71/