The "Maestros Roneros" (literally "master rum-makers") are the guardian spirits behind Havana Club rum. They are responsible for every step of the rum-making process, from the selection of sugar cane to the final bottling. They oversee the blending and ageing of the rum with particular passion, patience and precision, as well as a strong commitment to Cuban rum-making tradition.
They bear the secrets of one of Cuba’s true treasures: rum that owes its incomparably high quality to the noblest traditions and finest ingredients. Around 15 years of training are necessary to become a true Maestro Ronero – a period in which the most experienced Maestro Roneros transmit their knowledge to their successors. Each Maestro Ronero leaves his creations to age so that future generations may use them to blend even better aged rums.
Today Don José Navarro, Havana Club’s Primer Maestro Ronero, and his team follow every step of this unique process, ensuring the respect of Cuban rum-making tradition and the superior quality of Havana Club rum.
Discover the biographies of our Maestros Roneros:
Don José Navarro
Primer Maestro Ronero
Born in 1942 in Palma Soriano, Don José Navarro was not meant to be a Maestro Ronero. Prior to this, he studied Chemical Engineering at the University of the East.
It takes at least 14 years of training to become a true Maestro Ronero. The chosen few carry out a rich tradition by devoting their working lives to creating authentic Cuban rum using the knowledge, experience and passion handed down by their rum-making forefathers.
With over 40 years experience in making Havana Club rum, Don José Navarro is one of the most knowledgeable Maestro Roneros in the business.
He has made it his mission to develop and transmit the craft of Cuban rum-making from generation to generation.
Commenting on the creation of Havana Club rums, Don José Navarro explains, “The rum doesn’t come from a magical combination. It is a cultural legacy, passed on from Maestro Ronero to Maestro Ronero, from heart to heart, from Cuban to Cuban.”
Juan Carlos Gonzales
Primer Maestro Ronero
Appointed in January 2014, Juan Carlos González is only the second Primer Maestro Ronero at Havana Club. With 38 years rum-making expertise, Juan – along with Don Jose Navarro – leads a team of Maestros Roneros (“master rummakers”) overseeing every stage of the distillation, ageing and blending processes for Havana Club.
Born in 1951, Juan Carlos Gonzales knew exactly where he wanted his career to go. He entered the quality control department of the Santa Cruz Distillery in 1976 and has never looked back. In 2003, he was appointed as a Maestro Ronero, taking charge of all the distillery’s operations.
Juan Carlos Gonzalez has carried out much technical and scientific research in the field of rum production and was awarded his first grant from the Academy of Sciences in Cuba in 1993. Since then, he has published 43 articles and research papers in national and international journals, led numerous training and postgraduate courses and received several awards for his contributions to the industry.
Born overlooking a Santa Domingo distillery in 1968, Asbel Morales connection to rum couldn’t be longer. He studied rum-making at Manacas, one of the leading places in Cuba to study spirit production. More than 15 years ago, after earning a degree in chemical engineering and studying economics, Asbel Morales was granted the title of Maestro Ronero at Havana Club.
On becoming a Maestro Ronero, Asbel Morales says, “You do not grow up thinking that you will become a Maestro Ronero. It’s only when someone recognizes that skill within you and gives you the chance to express yourself that the possibility opens up.”