Andy Morton

How not to interview the Bacardi family

By: Andy Morton - 16 July 2012 15:48

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Bats in the belfry

Bats in the belfry

As a journalist, we're charged with asking the difficult questions. Unfortunately, it's very easy to ask the wrong ones.

Late last week, I was at the Savoy in London for the unveiling of Bacardi's 150th anniversary blend. It costs just shy of US$2,000 a bottle and, because the Bacardi family took a personal hand in its blending, some of them were there for the occasion. Which is how I managed to fall into conversation with family patriach Toten Comas Bacardi about the company's long-running court battle with Pernod Ricard over the Havana Club name. (For a crib sheet on the long, but often fascinating, affair, click here.) 

Toten was immensely happy that Bacardi can lay claim to sole rights of the trademark in the US and can go ahead with expansion plans that could see Bacardi's version roll out beyond Florida.

For some reason, I decided to follow this line of questioning up by asking him if he thought there was a marked difference between Bacardi's Havana Club and Pernod's. "Ha!" exclaimed Toten. "Night and day, night and day." And with a polite laugh he left me to it, impromtu interview over.

Journalists are taught that they have to ask the stupid questions. But sometimes stupid questions are just that. Stupid questions.

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