Don Manuel Quevedo Alemán (a man known to be ahead of his time) founded in 1936 the distillery of Ron Aldea in the municipality of Aldea de San Nicolás de Tolentino, on the Canary Island of Gran Canaria. Born in Arucas (Gran Canaria), he emigrated to Cuba when he was very young, then in 1888 moved on to Santo Domingo, wherein both places he worked in the sugar industry.
Upon his return from the West Indies in the beginning of the 20th century, he worked in the shadow of his father and his uncle, José Alemán, owner of the sugar refinery of Bañaderos. Later, he took on the management of an important refinery in the town of Guía in Gran Canaria, acquired in 1909 by the English entrepreneur Mr. Leacock. At the age of 37, Mr. Quevedo became a well-known expert on sugar and rum.
For four years, Mr. Leacock’s sugar plant, worked at full capacity under the management of Mr. Quevedo. However, the First World War, in 1916, caused a serious downfall in production, forcing the closure of the sugar plant in 1919 and its sale to Portuguese financier, Enrique Figueroa Dasilva, who moved all the main equipment and Mr. Quevedo to the Island of Madeira. Meanwhile, this event coincided with the end of the sugar cane’s second cycle in the Canary Islands, with the shutdown of the main sugar plants in 1920.
Mr. Quevedo stayed with his family in Madeira for fifteen years (from 1919 to 1934) and worked as the Director of Mr. Dasilva’s sugar plant, in Sao Felipe (Funchal) where he continued to broaden his knowledge of distillation of cane spirits.
In 1934, after the bankruptcy of Mr. Dasilva, Don Manuel Quevedo returned to the Canary Islands with his family. Rich from his accumulated experience and with the desire to pursue his career in the sugar industry and distillation, he started to lay down the foundation of a treasured project to give rise to his own distillery. Time was not wasted. Surfing on a new cycle of interest in sugar cane production in the Canary Islands, in 1936 Ron Aldea opened its doors.
Ron Aldea pillar foundation, which made it unique from the rest of his competitors, laid on Don Manuel Quevedo’s uncommon method to produce distillates: the Direct Distillation of the Juice of the Sugar Cane. As a general rule, in the main regions, the elaboration of spirit was and is still made from sugar molasses, the residual component of sugar production. With Quevedo’s method, the direct distillation of fresh milled sugar cane juice, or Guarapo, sealed his rum with the authentic aromas and taste of sugar cane.
Between 1954 and 1956, Don Manuel Quevedo, in his early 80 years old, transferred his distillery to the agricultural company Rodríguez Quintana, who carried out a thorough remodeling of the plant with a new building, a new still, vats and storage tanks, but surprisingly, keeping Quevedo as Technical Director. This new company will commercialize their product under the trademark of Ron del Charco.
Four years later, in 1960, production of sugar cane suffered another downfall by the new rise of tomatoes culture. Sugar cane had to be imported from other Islands and the plant finally ceased their operation.
Ron Aldea in La Palma
After the sale of the factory of Ron Aldea in the mid-1950s, Carmelo Quevedo, son of Don Manuel, moved to the island of La Palma, bringing with him the trademark of Ron Aldea. There, he carried on the second chapter of the history and production of his family legacy rum Ron Aldea.
Some years later, in 1969, one of Carmelo´s sons, José Manuel Quevedo Hernández joined his father to pursue the family tradition. Nowadays, José Manuel and his sons are the fourth generations of Ron Aldea Distillery, keeping alive the spirit of the early rum master distillers.