As the saying goes, it takes a village or, in our case, a dedicated community to sustain and grow our ecosystem. Below we’re proud to share profiles of some of the Copalli Team members who are passionate in their work to ensure our mission thrives. Their profiles are in their own words. Learn more about their backgrounds, why sustainability is important to them, and what they love to do when they are not working by clicking on the link under each profile.
Assistant Manager, Copal Tree Lodge
Copalli Rum Brand Champion
I joined the Copalli Team in 2018. I am an assistant manager at the Copal Tree Lodge. I am proud to have the opportunity to showcase my beautiful country and our stunning property to our visitors. In addition, I am proud to represent such a prestigious and ecofriendly rum that tastes amazing. I love the fact that it is all happening in my backyard and hometown.
I was born and raised in Belize and spent most of my youth in Cattle Landing Village within the Toledo District of Belize. I attended Loyola University Chicago, where I received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy. While I enjoyed my time in the US and am very appreciative of the opportunity to study abroad, I always knew I would return home to Belize. Few people get to study abroad and, after their travels, there are many who choose to stay abroad. I wanted to be an asset to the country that shaped me and is closest to my heart. I did not want to contribute to my country’s brain drain.
I love Copalli Rum! I prefer to drink the White Rum with grapefruit juice, it’s a delicious and easy drink to make. For the Barrel Rested, I enjoy it most with ice and coconut water.
Assistant Manager, Copal Tree Distillery
I have been with the distillery from the first day of operations. I previously worked as Assistant Manager at the Copal Tree Lodge and transferred over to the Distillery when we produced our first batch of rum. In total, I have been working here for 12 years and I am loving it.
I am involved with the daily operations of the Distillery. Each day, I ensure that our team is fulfilling all Copalli Rum orders to meet sales and exporting deadlines. In addition, I support the needs of the various departments within the distillery. This ranges from operational issues to helping HR in assisting our staff.
I also manage all the purchasing that takes place at the distillery and, when time allows, I work with accounting to ensure that invoices are paid on time and allocated accurately.
My three favorite Copalli cocktails are Copalli Passionate Apple, Copalli Daiquiri and Copalli Mojito.
Tour Guide, Copal Tree Lodge
There are a myriad of tours around the Copal Tree property and the region. A great guide makes a great tour, and there is likely no better guide than Desmond Ramirez.
I have been working at the Copal Tree Lodge for 13 years. Being a tour guide is a great way to share experiences with people from around the world while also educating them about Belize and our culture.
I’m a member of the Garifuna community and was born and raised here in Punta Gorda. I became a licensed tour guide of Belize in 2010 and enjoy leading adventure and education tours. I love that my work gives me the chance to continue to deepen my learning of the mechanisms of terrestrial and marine ecology!
I like to sip Copalli Rum neat or mix it with fresh tropical fruit juice and local spices.
Chief of Maintenance, Copal Tree LODGE
I have worked for the Copal Tree Farm and Lodge for more than nine years. Before being promoted to Chief of Maintenance, I was the Chocolatier at Copal Tree Farm, where I roasted the cacao nibs used in crafting the Copalli Cacao Rum and I led a Bean to Bar Chocolate Class for visitors to the Copal Tree Lodge.
I am of East Indian descent, but I grew up in Belize. Growing up in Belize is unique, as we get to live among several different cultures. Belize is a very small country, and it’s the only English-speaking country in Central America. We pride ourselves on democracy and believe if you want to have something in life you must work for it!
I’ve always loved margaritas, so my favorite way of drinking Copalli Rum is in a Daiquiri.
Bartender, Copal Tree Lodge
I have been working at the Copal Tree Lodge for the past 12 years. As a bartender, I make cocktails and mocktails for guests. I love to experiment with locally grown ingredients that are in season.
Growing up in Belize and being a part of the Mayan heritage for me is blessing. I get to share the importance to our culture of food, medicine, shelter, and connection to wildlife with our guests.
I enjoy a Rum Old Fashioned made with Copalli Barrel Rested Rum and love a Mojito made with Copalli White Rum.
Distillery Operator, Copal Tree Distillery
I grew up in Belize and have been a member of the team since the Copal Tree Distillery began in 2016. At the Distillery, I oversee the fermentation and distillation processes. In addition to monitoring the fermentation and distillation, I supervise the blending and bottling operations.
I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from Swinburne University of Technology, in Malaysia, where I studied Industrial Microbiology and Environmental Biotechnology.
After finishing my studies in Malaysia, I moved back to Belize. Living in Belize has allowed me to interact with so many people of diverse races. I feel fortunate to be able to learn new things every day by interacting with various people. Belize also has a variety of breath-taking landscapes that are adorned with precious flora and fauna. Although small, Belize is a very beautiful country.
My favorite way to drink Copalli Rum is in a refreshing Mojito using Copalli White Rum. The union of the mint, lime juice, Copalli White Rum, and soda water creates a synergistic harmony that cools and refreshes your body, especially on a really hot day.
Mark Carlos Edwards
Food & Beverage Manager, Copal Tree Lodge
Making sure that the bar stays stocked, and gu the Food & Beverage Manager at the Copal Tree Lodge.
I have worked at the Copal Tree Lodge for more than 10 years. To sum up my role, I am responsible for ensuring that everything that entails food and drink is fully stocked, readily available, and making sure our guests experience the best service, whatever they order.
Most people think that Belize is a third-world country and forgotten, but this place I call home has everything to offer me. Life in Belize is wonderful and beautiful. I have access to all my basic needs and it’s a land and culture that fulfills most all of my wants.
For me, the best way to enjoy Copalli Rum is in one of the Copal Tree Lodge’s signature drinks called a Watermelon Smash. A refreshing cocktail made with fresh lime, mint, and watermelon. So, if you ever visit the Copal Tree Lodge, make sure to ask for a Smash!
Assistant Distillery Operator: Copal Tree Distillery
There are many people at the heart of producing our award-winning Copalli Rum. Ian is one of those people.
I am proud to be working at the Copal Tree Distillery. My job is to assist in various processes of fermenting, distilling, and barreling.
I love my life in Belize. It is very relaxing and slow-paced. Belize is a multi-racial country, which offers many opportunities to meet people of diverse races and the chance to experience different cultures. I think Belize is the perfect getaway place from city life. It is a beautiful country where one can truly enjoy and appreciate nature.
My favorite way to drink Copalli Rum is to mix up a cocktail using whatever ingredients and mixers I have on hand.
GM: Copal Tree Farm
The Copal Tree Farm is where the sugar cane, cacao, and coffee are grown for crafting Copalli Rum. Overseeing this vital operation since the beginning of 2022 is General Manager Lester Muralles.
I’m an Agronomist by trade and prior to joining Copal Tree Farm, I was the Farm Manager at the University of Belize.
At the farm, it’s my job to plan the farming activities. This means I coordinate the team to execute organic certified and oversee the natural farming activities that make the farm such a valuable resource for our Rum and the lodge. My team is responsible for sugarcane production, harvesting and delivery to the Distillery; Cacao production, harvesting, processing and storage; Vanilla production, harvesting, curing and storage. We also manage the organic vegetable garden and livestock operations to provide food for the Copal Tree Lodge.
I was attracted to the Copal Tree Farm because of the organic farming activities and the natural ways of production. We’re not only producing quality food and protecting the land, but we’re also making a difference in the local community.
Head of Maintenance, Copal Tree Farm and Distillery
I have been working at Copal Tree Distillery and Copal Tree Lodge for more than five years. As head of maintenance for the Distillery and Farm, I make sure our electrical, mechanical and HVAC systems are working properly. I oversee maintenance for the equipment used in sugar cane milling, fermentation and distillation. I also am involved in maintaining the reverse osmosis system which purifies our drinking water.
I absolutely love my country and I am proud to be a Belizean. I would like people to know that Belize is a great place to explore. It is home to the largest coral barrier reef in the world and more than 900 Mayan ruins. And, for Americans it’s easy, as Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language.
My favorite way to enjoy Copalli Rum is the Copalli Mojito.
Senior BartendeR, Copal Tree Lodge
I have been working at Copal Tree Lodge since 2000. I was 25 years old when I started. I worked one year as a dishwasher, after which I transitioned to serving as a waiter. While working in the restaurant, I began to get interested in the bar. There I met a very close friend, Adrian Choco, who told me I would be a great fit at the Copal Tree bar. I am still here today!
My country is beautiful and a special cultural place. Some of the nicest people live in my town, Punta Gorda. If you tell someone good morning, they will also tell you good morning. Our local food is diverse and reflects the many cultures. We are happy people always smiling. I believe strongly in helping others and like to treat everyone as my neighbor. Everywhere I go the door is always open.
My favorite way to drink Copalli Rum is in a signature drink at the Copal Tree Lodge called Ducky’s Daiquiri. Over the years it has become one of our most popular drinks at the Lodge. It is a combination of Copalli White Rum with lime and simple syrup. Our rum is clean and tastes great.
Farm Operations Supervisor, Copal Tree Farm
I have been part of the Copal Tree family for more than 11 years. I was born and raised in the Toledo District of Belize. From an early age, I was passionate about agriculture and rainforest remedies. I studied Agriculture in school, after which I became an elementary school teacher.
My post at Copal Tree Lodge is Farm Operations Supervisor, which means I assist with the caring of livestock and ensuring healthy and sustainable meat and produce for the restaurant at The Lodge. I also lead farm tours and teach part of the Bean to Bar Class in our Copal Tree Chocolate Factory. There I share information about the Cacao Trees and give grafting demonstrations. I am involved in small scale farm purchasing within the country and help with a little office assistant work as needed.
Belize is a unique country that offers a wide range of activities – from snorkeling and diving in the Great Coral reef, to touring the Mayan Temples. We also have a variety of wildlife in the forest reserves and offer cultural food at its best – which is both tasty and healthy. Belize offers a diverse ethnic population with friendly people.
I don’t drink alcohol, but I do like the Copalli Rum-infused chocolates which are made in the cacao factory. If I did drink, I would enjoy Copalli Rum with Coca Cola / Rum Popo (Homemade).
Todd Robinson has trailblazed conservation efforts in Central America’s Belize with widespread and socially impactful investments since 2005. His charitable foundations have profoundly improved the marine and terrestrial environment, as well as improving the standard of living of the people in Southern Belize through educational grants and philanthropic business developments.
Robinson is especially committed to preserving Belize’s pristine marine environment with strategic investments in the country’s fishing industry including the institution of a catch and release program, the construction and donation of a research station to the University of Belize, and an initiative to benefit The Port of Honduras Marine Reserve that helps local communities harvest its sustainable resources and protect it from exploitation by poachers.
Since 2006, Robinson has been the key stakeholder in Copal Tree Lodge in Punta Gorda that is now the largest employer in the Toledo District of Belize outside of the government providing jobs in hospitality and organic farming. The award-winning lodge has helped ignite tourism to Southern Belize among a diverse and robust audience of travelers. In 2016, he built Copal Tree Distillery adjacent to the Lodge’s property and it was then transferred into a trust that supports philanthropic efforts in the Toledo District of Southern Belize.
Robinson has extended his investments to fund individual Belizean tourism operators in addition to a young artist coalition that documents environmental and social injustices through documentary filmmaking.