Blog: Pernod Ricard's Havanista remains poised to capitalise post-embargo
James Wilmore | 27 February 2015
Havanista - on sale at the Havana Club Rum Museum
Spotted in Havana this week - a healthy stock of Pernod Ricard's Havanista rum.
The brand, which is the same as Havana Club 7-Year-Old in all but name, is still being sold in the company's visitor shop at the Havana Club museum in the Cuban capital. It's the only place in the world, currently, where the rum is sold under this moniker.
The story of the label is a complex one, but it is Pernod's chance to launch immediately back into the US market when the country lifts its near-55-year-old trade embargo on Cuba. The prospects have been raised after December's initial move to normalise relations.
Pernod Ricard and its JV partner, state-owned Cuba Ron, still has hopes it can get back the Havana Club name in the US, but remains prevented from doing so due to a long-running legal battle with Bacardi over the name. Bacardi currently sells a small amount of rum under the Havana Club name in Florida.
Speaking to just-drinks in Havana this week, Jerome Cottin-Bizonne, Havana Club's director general, acknowledged that Havanista could be regarded as an insurance policy if it fails to get back the trademark in the US. “We want to be sure we will be number one company in the US selling 100% Cuban rum in the US,” he said.
Just-drinks did not see Havanista exactly flying off the shelf and Cottin-Bizonne insisted it was being sold more for collectors then an attempt to build the brand. “Havanista is Havana Club and people know that already,” he said.
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