Spiced by… Adversity: we speak to Igor Pachi

It’s the challenges we face, and the way we overcome them, that make character. When Don Facundo Bacardi Masso established BACARDÍ in 1862 he could not have foreseen the challenges his family would face as they moved through time.
Don Facundo’s son, Emilio Bacardi, was arrested, imprisoned and exiled fighting for Cuban Independence. After the war, Emilio became the first democratically elected mayor of Santiago de Cuba while remaining the chairman of BACARDÍ.
The Bacardi Family have survived distillery fires, prohibition, civil wars and revolution. Yet to this day, BACARDÍ remains a family company. Their latest expression, BACARDÍ Fuego, pays homage to Emilio’s tenacity boasting that it’s a rum “Spiced by Revolution” and this unique family story.
And it’s that sense of determination that has seen Igor Pachi of Assembly in Sydney make quite the career for himself since moving to Australia 10 years ago, and one that saw him hit the Three Most Promising in the last instalment of the Bacardi Legacy competition. Here, he talks about the challenges he’s had to overcome to get where he is now, and on the importance of mentors.

Who are the mentors in your life?
One of the main mentors in my life has been my father Norberto P. Pachi who has taught me the fundamentals of life and whom I have always viewed differently during various phases of my life.

I have though been lucky enough to have many mentors in my life.  I don’t believe one mentor is enough to guide you in all the things that you may encounter in your career and life.  I have had a number of great mentors both at work and in everyday life, each one from which I have received great guiding and advising in various aspect and challenges presented to me in time; work life balance issues, career change decisions, office politics, to name a few.

Nowadays Loy Catada is really present as a mentor to me. I still remember when I first got here in Australia and his “face” was everywhere, nationally and internationally, from Flair Bartender to a Brand Ambassador. I look up to him and value all the help he has provided me throughout the years and his successes push me to work harder and to achieve goals.

What inspired you to move here in Australia?
The Culture! The multi-cultural society, young and open-minded society.


After 10 years of living in this amazing country I am proud and honored to be an Australian citizen. I never really left Australia since I landed for the first time all those years ago, and during this time the love for this country and especially for its bar industry has become stronger and stronger. I consider myself lucky to be part of the industry’s growth around Australia, and I am thrilled to see how strong its scene has become (and to be part of it).

One of the main inspirations to keep me in Australia (that’s right, I’m not leaving any time soon!) are all the young upcoming talents, the “girls” scene gaining space and getting stronger within the bar scene and operators finding ways to overcome the many of the difficulties that these new nonsensical laws have had us to face. Proud to say Australian bar scene inspiring the world.

What challenges did you overcome to be where you are now?
Definitely the language barrier… Looking back it was interesting, being a Graphic Designer it was easier to get behind the computer and just design. I could get away pretty well not speaking English as I was mainly only having to showcase good graphic designs. The language didn’t interfere with my career then.

The story changed when I decided to have a go behind the bar: just the basics like Gin & Tonic, Bourbon & Coke or a “QF”, didn’t sound like anything to me back then when the customer used to order them over the bar. I used to just look at the customer, smile, turn around and just try to repeat to the first colleague I could find exactly what the customer just said (or better what I thought he said, to me they were mostly just sounds), imagine yourself moving to Japan not knowing the local language. It was fun for me, although I don’t think the managers found it quite as fun. I’m still laughing about it.

Apart of the language barrier, the rest were fun, enjoyable challenges, like trying to be “everywhere” at the same time by attending and being seen at every event, getting to know everyone, learning, cocktails comp, party, bar… Let’s say it was 24/7.  But back then we used to work all night long, day, hardly sleep, getting things done, there wasn’t much ego back then as there is around these days. It was about learning, growing personally and professionally and helping each other reach our goals. I wish I could name everyone that I’ve seen in the past 10 years overcoming personal and professional challenges and now days doing great as Brand Ambassadors, Bar Owners, Operators.

The past year I have been enjoying the new challenging position as Operations Manager at Assembly Food Group, where I have been for the last three years.


Tasting notes

BACARDÍ Fuego (40% ABV)
Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla notes are enlivened by a smokiness which adds depth to the flavour and compliments strong mixers such as ginger, coffee and citrus. Smooth enough to enjoy over ice and versatile in cocktails, BACARDÍ Fuego is a great choice for bartenders looking to develop their range of premium spiced rums with a bold and consistent flavour.

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