Ruben Rausing must be rolling over in his grave.
You may not know the Swedish food packaging pioneer by name, but if you have kids, or were one yourself in the 80’s, then you no doubt know his crowning achievement: the Tetra Brik.
Okay, maybe you don’t know Rausing’s signature innovation by its official name either, but you have heard of a juice box, right?
You know, the small paperboard rectangles purpose-built for little hands with accompanying mini straws? The ones generally containing some super-sweetened faux fruity liquid inside?
Yeah, Rausing invented ’em back in 1963, though they didn’t really catch on in the U.S. til a good 20 years later.
In developing his iconic drink boxes, Rausing was inspired to create a more efficient, affordable, and ostensibly kid-friendly means of packaging milk and juices, which only came in bottles back in the day. Little did he know, I’m assuming, that another more nefarious bottled drink would some day find its way into his packages…
That drink: rum.
In particular: Cuba’s Ron Tumbao.
I have my friend LeAnn to thank for the rum drink box pictured above. She recently returned from her first-ever trip to Cuba, where she says Ron Tumbao drink boxes are everywhere, especially in Havana.
Portability and a price that I assume to be quite nice surely factor into the popularity of these rum drink boxes, but so too does the quality of the rum.
Well, at least that’s according to the wording on the packaging, which somewhat surprisingly to me is printed in Spanish and English…
In the production of the Cuban Rum are used molasses of excellent quality extracted from the best sugar cane. ‘Tumbao,’ the most recent product of the appreciated Cuban rum industry, is incorporated to that meritorious legacy with a high quality rum, in an original package that keeps unchanged its aroma and bouquet.
Sort of makes it sound like Ron Tumbao was actually crafted specifically for Tetra Brik packaging, right?
Hmmm… I’m not sure about that, or about how Ron Tumbao tastes (LeAnn won’t let me poke a straw into it just yet).
I do know, though, that whenever I finally get to Cuba, I’ll be making a beeline for the Malecon to sit on the seawall sipping Ron Tumbao out of a drink box just like the other locals.