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09.2011

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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OBITUARY: EDWIN H. NIELSEN

EDWIN H. NIELSEN, 93
Edwin H. Nielsen, the great-grandson of Bacardi founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, has passed away in Spain.  Born in Santiago de Cuba and raised and educated in the United States, Mr. Nielsen served heroically in World War II and received four medals: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, European Campaign, and the Victory Medal.  He landed the day after D-Day in Normandy and then made his way to Germany. He began his career after the war as a cattle rancher in Cuba until the Cuban revolution, when his ranch was confiscated.  He left Cuba with his family and went to work for Bacardi Mexico in 196O.  There he held the position of assistant manager.  Mr. Nielsen helped establish a stable transition for the company and the Bacardi family following the confiscation of the company’s assets in Cuba.  In 1963, he was promoted and transferred to the United States.  There he became Vice President of the US operations – Bacardi Imports, US and was later promoted to President. During his tenure, in 1975, Bacardi rum became the number one premium spirits brand in the US, and the following year the rum solidified its place as number one in the world.  In the 197Os and throughout the 198Os, Mr. Nielsen furthered the company’s international expansion to markets that today represent the largest markets for the Bacardi trademark.  For more than a decade, he also served as Chairman of the Board of Bacardi Imports, US.  For greater organization, he then established a board of directors to coordinate the activities of other Bacardi companies in the world and he served as its president.  In 1992, when Bacardi Limited was founded by the joining of five separate Bacardi companies, he became a director.  He retired from Bacardi Limited in 2OO1. “We have lost an individual who contributed to the great history and growth of this Company.  His accomplishments and legacy will remain a part of Bacardi forever,” said Facundo L. Bacardi, chairman of Bacardi Limited.

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