In an exclusive interview with MEGA Man, Troy Arquiza shares how he was chosen by the renowned worldwide spirits company as their first Filipino global master blender
Nestled within the grounds of Casa Bacardi in Cataño, Puerto Rico, Troy Arquiza leads a squad of rum professionals to manage the intricate processes of distillation and maturation, delicately safeguarding the reputation of this distinguished international brand within the field of fine spirits.
In an exclusive interview with MEGA Man, the pioneering Filipino shared the journey that led him to his prestigious post at Bacardi and graciously imparted invaluable wisdom to the young aspiring blenders who yearn to conquer the global scene.
Rising to the top
“When I started with Bacardi, it was really just a leap of faith.” These were the exact words uttered by Troy as he reflected on his career. The rum master, who studied industrial engineering at Mapúa University, said that he first applied to work in the rum sector in 1996. After an interview in Hong Kong, Arquiza began working in 1997 as a trainee engineer in the fermentation department at the Bacardi plant in the Bahamas.
“I guess I just always adhere to putting my best effort into whatever I do.”
In 2001, he became a Bacardi rum blender trainee, where his primary responsibility was to assist the production staff. Since then, Troy mentioned that he has relied on a working formula he believes is innate in every Filipino: a willingness to put in the time and effort to help those in need rather than expecting anything in return.
Until 2021, prior to Jose Gomez’s retirement, the Bacardi family approached him and informed him of his appointment as the company’s new global master blender.
Stirring a Filipino legacy
Arquiza admitted that he was surprised by his appointment because, given that Bacardi is a Cuban company, one would naturally anticipate a greater presence of master blenders from the same region. “Who would have thought that a Filipino would have a chance to get that position? But here I am.” Even though he was initially hesitant, Troy said he quickly realized this was an excellent chance to introduce Filipino flavor to the international spirits industry.
The rum master’s responsibilities
A global master blender is responsible for a wide range of duties, including forecasting sales volumes over a given period of time, calculating and determining the quantities of raw materials required, determining the optimal aging periods to ensure that finished products are consistent in flavor and character regardless of where they are produced, and implementing new strategies to increase innovation. But Troy spoke so strongly about his role in the company, which includes mentoring the company’s future generation of leaders. The Filipino master said he teaches his team all he knows, from recipes to procedures, in the hopes of helping them become better blenders.
In addition to highlighting Filipino excellence, he is pleased with the innovative changes he has made to Bacardi. He’s in charge of developing new products, and he adds that getting responses from their consumers, whether positive or constructive, is one of the most satisfying parts of his job.
Speaking from experience, the global master blender encouraged his audience to follow their passions and never be afraid to take risks. He reflected on his past and said that he would not be where he is now if he hadn’t taken the chance to submit the application in Hong Kong. With a lifetime of thrilling adventures awaiting him alongside Bacardi, Troy expressed, “I would like to lay the foundation that would inspire blenders in the future so that they are able to attain the same achievements that I had.”
Photos: BACARDI and TROY ARQUIZA (via Instagram)