CORRECTION: CUBA: Havana Club and Bacardi USA

By | 29 February 2008

An Apology: A story ran on just-drinks earlier this week regarding Havana Club without Bacardi's comments. We apologise to Bacardi for failing to give the company the immediate right to reply on this matter.

Bacardi released the following statement to just-drinks today (28 February), which we are happy to run in full.

Bacardi is pleased with the sales of Havana Club in the US, where it is distributed and sold in the Florida market, the largest rum market in the US.

"We re-launched Havana Club in Florida is because it is the largest rum market in the US," said Patricia Neal, the spokeswoman for Bacardi USA. "Commercially-speaking, the time is right for (Bacardi's) Havana Club rum. Rum is third only to Tequila and vodka among the fastest-growing spirits (source: 2007 Adams Liquor Handbook). Americans are demanding premium products with authenticity and classic cocktails such as the daiquiri, mojito and Cuba Libre are extremely popular."

Consumers and spirits experts have spoken out about the brand—highlighting its complexity of a dark aged rum and smoothness and mixability of a light rum.

Bacardi purchased the legal rights to the brand from the original owners and creators of the brand. Havana Club was created in 1935 in Cuba by the Arechabala family. Courts have confirmed that the Havana Club brand and associated assets were illegally confiscated from its original owners in 1960 by the current Cuban government and Bacardi USA has a pending application with the US Patent and Trademark Office to register the trademark in its own name. The Cuban government was denied a renewal of its Havana Club registration in the US in July of 2006, when the PTO ruled the trademark as "cancelled/expired".

In 1993, the Cuban Government formed a joint venture with Pernod-Ricard to produce and market the brand globally. In the US, consistently the courts have ruled that the joint venture has "no rights" to the brand in the US.

Figures released in the last few weeks, however, have shown that Pernod-Ricard outspent Bacardi when it comes to lobbying the US government in 2007. The French company spent US$1.3m lobbying over issues, which included trade with Cuba, while Bacardi spent $560,000 in the year. Pernod-Ricard has considerably and consistently spent more than Bacardi on lobbying over the years.

Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Bacardi, Havana Club, Pernod, Ricard

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