To Top

Community Highlights: Meet Alejandro Russo of Candela Mamajuana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alejandro Russo.

Hi Alejandro, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’ve wanted to be a businessman since I was little. At six years old, I moved from Chile to Miami and I realized I couldn’t buy my favorite chocolate bar, Super8. So next time I went to Chile, I brought 2 cases back to Miami and started selling them outside Publix. After being in the hot Miami sun for a while, I asked my mom, “So mom, how many chocolate bars do I need to sell to buy a Rolls-Royce?”

I founded my first company at 19 and haven’t stopped since.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It’s definitely been a crazy ride. Starting a business is like climbing a mountain where you can see the peak but have no idea what trails will take you there. You just have to keep a clear vision of where you’re going and be ready to adapt as you move forward.

In our specific journey, we’ve adapted to changes in every realm you can imagine: product, suppliers, distributors, team, and everything in between has had significant changes along the way. What hasn’t changed is our vision and our drive.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Candela Mamajuana?
In 2016, I founded Candela, meaning “on fire” in Spanish slang, after I was fascinated by the drink served to me at a hotel bar in the Dominican Republic. It was called “mamajuana”. Intrigued by its smooth taste and exotic spice flavors, I was surprised to find out that I could not buy this and take it home with me. Millions of people were drinking mamajuana every year, yet there wasn’t a brand making it. It was only made artisanally. That’s how the idea to bring the finest expression of this iconic Dominican drink to the rest of the world was born.

Candela is now the leading mamajuana rum brand and the only premium brand.

It makes me incredibly proud to visit the same resort where I discovered mamajuana and see them serve me a shot of Candela when I ask for mamajuana. Walking into Costco or Total Wine and seeing a bottle of Candela next to the most recognized brands in the world never gets old!

But above all, it makes me so proud to know how our product is made and how much quality goes into every bottle of Candela. For starters, we use 100% natural ingredients only. This means no artificial colors, flavors or additives like many other rums use. Our rum is made from fresh sugarcane juice and not molasses, like most rums. This is what truly sets us apart. It’s like comparing an orange juice from concentrate to a fresh-squeezed orange juice. Candela is as pure and fresh as can be. And as if that weren’t enough, our production process is powered by renewable energy, reusing the byproduct generated from the cane juice extraction process.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
As a business owner, you need to adapt. Everything can change in a matter of days. You need to be ready to move quickly and effectively without letting your feelings get in the way or wondering why this is happening to you. I learned that even though many things are out of my control, the way you react and adapt to change is entirely up to you.

I also learned that nothing is guaranteed. You really can’t take anything for granted. I met an amazing guy that could’ve been a potential client. He passed away from COVID a couple of months after meeting him. An account that buys from you might close. New opportunities might open up. Whatever happens, you need to be with your eyes and ears open and ready to pounce.


  • CANDELA Mamajuana, 750ml – $32.99
  • SALUD Shot Glass 4-Pack – $19.99

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Courtesy of Candela Mamajuana

Suggest a Story: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Local Stories

  • Daily Inspiration: Meet Carly Cartaya

    Today we’d like to introduce you to Carly Cartaya. Carly, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with...

    Local StoriesSeptember 13, 2021
  • Community Highlights:

    The community highlights series is one that our team is very excited about.  We’ve always wanted to foster certain habits within...

    Local StoriesSeptember 8, 2021
  • Heart to Heart with Whitley: Episode 4

    You are going to love our next episode where Whitley interviews the incredibly successful, articulate and inspiring Monica Stockhausen. If you...

    Whitley PorterSeptember 1, 2021
  • Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories: Episode 3

    We are thrilled to present Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories, a show we’ve launched with sales and marketing expert Aleasha Bahr. Aleasha...

    Local StoriesAugust 25, 2021