Olly Wehring

Diageo v Bacardi - Tick, tick, tick, tick... BOOM

By: Olly Wehring - 24 February 2010 15:21

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Today's top story is certainly a cockle-warmer on a cold, damp Wednesday in February.

Diageo didn't so much fire a warning shot across Bacardi's bows yesterday (23 February), more set about the boat itself... with a bazooka. Not only does Diageo's statement make for an interesting read, but it is also a pretty long one – take a look for yourself here.

This is most unlike Diageo, which usually prefers to play the strong, silent type when it comes to disputes - witness how the firm chose to keep its head when all about it was losing theirs and blaming it on Diageo during last year's Scotland closure row.

Our take on the surprise reaction? Well, Diageo has been getting heat ever since it announced its move of Captain Morgan operations from Puerto Rico to the US Virgin Islands back in 2008.

A brace of more recent attacks, including one from Bacardi, however, was one poke through the bars too many. I've heard that Diageo was tiring of having to rebut the allegations to each individual who challenged them, choosing instead to give its full (and I mean full) and frank take on the matter.

Bacardi's response – all of three sentences - is short and sweet, much like that of the Puerto Rican government – two sentences.

Yet, in such a short burst of words, the two ask whether the US taxpayer is the one getting a rum deal here.



Comments on this blog post

I have enjoyed Bacardi products and indeed even promoted them to the trade and the public in my work, but I have been increasingly troubled at the tactics Bacardi has used to protect and grow their business. The stories placed in the media at the release of Bacardi's Havana Club brand, depicting the Pernod Ricard product as undrinkable, were not only ridiculous but harmful to Bacardi's reputation. This latest bout to protect their lion's share of subsidies at the expense of a US Territory and the reputation of a competitive drinks company is disturbing. This is a time when all of the Caribbean should work together to recover from the devastating financial storms they have endured. Puerto Rico should be leading that initiative.


Dale DeGroff, United States

It's certainly the first time I have had to practically take the morning off to read a press release. What a monster that was!


Alan Lodge, United Kingdom

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