Bacardi Center of Excellence

The Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU), the #8 US public hospitality school, is home to the Bacardi Center of Excellence, a dynamic educational partnership focused on developing learners of beverage management, fine spirits, industry innovation, sustainability and entrepreneurship. The Bacardi Center of Excellence brings academia and industry together in a pioneering partnership experience at the Chaplin School.

About the program

The emblazoned walls can tell the story of a spirit’s ingredients, from the unique strain of yeast that Don Facundo Bacardí Massó found growing in the sugarcane fields outside Santiago de Cuba, to responsible sourcing of sugarcane-derived products and packaging materials. All core classes are held in this space, creating an emotional connection and brand loyalty between Bacardi brands and Chaplin’s future on-premise professionals.

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  • Mission

    The Bacardi Center of Excellence is a bold partnership that will elevate the Bacardi-FIU Chaplin School visibility and set it as the gold standard for spirits and business entrepreneurial education in the United States and around the world.

    The Chaplin School ranks as the 33rd best hospitality school in the world. Together with Bacardi’s rich family history, our unique brand stories and impact, we're marking the future of beverage management through education and innovation.

  • Vision

    The program will be the global leader in beverage education. Preparing learners through continual innovation in education, technology, creativity, and entrepreneurship.

Cecilia, virtual bartender with guests, the world's first robotic, interactive bartender that offers the potential of round-the-clock service

In early 2022, the Bacardi Innovation Fund brought us, the world’s first robotic bartender powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The introduction of Cecilia as a teaching tool addressed pandemic-imposed challenges such as labor shortages.

Read more about Cecilia
FIU press release
Nocamels article
Orlando Sentinel article
Vinepair article

Chaplin School and CasaCuba

Mixing one part Bacardi, one part Chaplin School, and one part CasaCuba, FIU seeks to fully embrace the bold Cuban spirit, bringing the cultural heritage, academia, and industry together in an innovative and immersive partnership experience.

Together, we are imprinting the Bacardi family legacy across FIU and infusing the Bacardi-FIU partnership in our educational programs. A full-bodied partnership experience, hospitality students and industry encounter Bacardi as a driver of cutting-edge research, innovative internships, and a first-ever Bacardi-branded spirits curriculum.

This Bacardi-FIU partnership spans two campuses—with the possibility of a third in Tianjin, China—over a phased engagement resulting in the grand opening of CasaCuba at FIU.

Key pillars

The Bacardi Center of Excellence at FIU’s Chaplin School is the model for public private partnership and entrepreneurial education and will become the most expansive beverage management program in the country. The programs key pillars include:


  • HFT 3861 - Spirit Fundamentals

    Provides a comprehensive review of the beverage industry including the history of alcohol, the development of the beverage industry in the U.S. and a review of beverages with an emphasis on Spirits.

  • HFT 3613 - Beverage Management Law

    An introduction course into alcoholic beverage law. The learner will be introduced to the fundamental laws, rules and regulations applicable to the alcoholic beverage industry in the State of Florida, key national and international markets. The learner is familiarized to methods of enforcement of laws, rules and regulations; the principles that control licensing and permitting within the industry; and municipal code violation enforcement.

  • HFT 3874 - Dynamics of Bar Operations

    The course is a complex analysis of modern bar operations. The learners will gain advanced knowledge of bar layout/design, equipment selection, and modern service technology, point of sales systems, people development, guest relations and service delivery. Teamwork, project management, oral and written communications, planning and executing, talent development, guest service, modern marketing and financial operational management. Completion of a bar operational driven project that will teach the learners essential organizational, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills.

  • HFT 4064 - Beverage Entrepreneurship (BEVpreneur)

    The learner will evaluate and analyze beverage business models. Apply written and financial skills to create and analyze a strategic business plan. The learner will gain advanced knowledge of business writing, financial modeling, leadership methods, presentation skills, negotiation methods, laws, regulations, and legal concepts that govern the beverage industry, licensing compliance, and responsibility.

    Completion of a beverage ‘start-up’ strategic growth plan that will teach learners essential organizational, business modeling, financial structuring, distribution channels, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills.

  • HFT 3065 - The Art & Science of Fine Spirits

    This course is designed to familiarize the learners with the global spirit production, regional cultures, tasting techniques, identifying aroma/taste profiles, three-tier distribution system, basic beverage laws, regulations, and responsible practices of distilled spirits.

  • HFT 3811 - Beverage Marketing & Distribution

    This course will explore the complex world of beverage sales, marketing and distribution, including brand management, legal issues, and the roles of producers, importers, wholesalers, retailers, duty-free and hospitality outlets. The learner will identify and analyze the key industry segments, targeting, and positioning of the alcoholic beverage industry with emphasis on the suppliers, retailers, duty-free segment, and on-premise accounts to understand product assortment and pricing models.


Future Proof

Future Proof is a collaborative learning platform and bar training program created by Bacardi USA, the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and renowned bartenders. The program provides foundational knowledge and techniques to excel as a hospitality professional.

The Future Proof platform brings global experts on campus and online to share cutting-edge techniques, foster creative approaches to mixology and explore best practices in the beverage industry.

Learn more about FutureProof

Bartenders Guild at FIU

A student-run organization that shares a passion, curiosity, and camaraderie for the art and concepts of mixology, craft cocktails, and fine spirits. The Bartenders Guild is a pillar of the Bacardi Center of Excellence at FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

Bacardi Family Legacy & FIU


The Bacardi family legacy started more than 150 years ago in Santiago de Cuba with the family patriarch, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, who created the first mixable rum—what the world now knows today as BACARDÍ®—and pioneered cocktail culture, which emerged in more than 170 markets globally to become the largest privately held spirits company in the world.

Learn more about the legacy

2 Barstools and a Knife

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