Coveted by those to whom it is denied and disputed by those who would steal its identity, Havana Club is Cuba’s most globally recognized rum and personifies the supremacy of the Cuban rum tradition.
Dating back to the opening of the La Vizcaya distillery in Cardenas, Matanzas in 1878, it takes its name from traditional Cuban roots that stem from the renowned city of Havana and the atmosphere of its night clubs.
Today, Havana Club has a presence in 140 markets, annual sales that exceed four million nine liter boxes and, despite being absent from the U.S. market because of the economic, commercial and financial Blockade, it ranks 24th on the list of the 100 best selling spirits in the world.
Marketed since 1993 by the joint venture company Havana Club Internacional SA, the fruit of a union between Cuba Ron S.A and the French Pernod Ricard companies, it attained full international market coverage a year later and became a priority and key brand within the French groups product portfolio.
Almost eighty percent of exports are to Europe with Latin America and Canada following in an afar second place. The rest goes to countries in Asia, Africa and Oceania.
Despite this i n t e r n a t i o n a l recognition, direct exports of Havana Club are prohibited from being sold in the most important market for rum in the world by the Washington government.
N e v e r t h e l e s s, in a flexibilization introduced by the Obama administration last January, U.S. citizens who visit Cuba are now permitted to return to their country with rum and tobacco products with a value of no more than one hundred dollars per person.
It is indeed in the U.S that the renowned Cuban rum was the victim of more than twenty years of litigation between the Bacardi and the Havana Club Internacional companies, which was happily won by Cuba when the Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the Island is the legitimate brand owner.
Nevertheless, in the middle of last month, Bacardi petitioned the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to revoke the license to register the trademark in the United States issued to the Cuban government.
Sergio Valdés, market development director at Havana Club Internacional, expressed confidence that, apart from the dispute, the drink will be the first product sold in the neighboring nation when the Blockade is lifted, a market with massive potential that accounts for almost half of all global premium rum sales.
The challenges and the potential of the U.S market, representing more than 40% of all rum sales in the world, are great, although Havana Club is already the third best selling rum on earth.
Jerome Cottin-Bizonne, Director General of the Cuban-French joint venture said that in preparation for gallons of their rum entering this robust market, further investment in their dark rum operation is planned.
This relates to the San José de Las Lajas factory in the western province of Mayabeque, where distilling capacity, the barrel filling and emptying plant, the aging stores, the rum making and the two bottling – one standard and one special Ultra Premium -- lines will be extended.
Cottin-Bizonne confirmed that these actions are being undertaken to respond to international growth.
With the trademark issue resolved, the company is now focused on the diversification of its range of products, above all on the more progressive and better quality, in order to attract a greater number of Cuban rum aficionados.
With the exceeding of the three million tourist threshold in 2014 and the three and a half million tourist threshold in 2015, Havana Club sales in Cuba have seen a sharp rise of more than 10% per annum.
There is now a greater demand for luxury higher grade Havana Club rums because clients are both more diverse and discerning.
Amongst the range of Havana Club rums on the market are Añejo 3 Años, Añejo Especial, Añejo Reserva, Añejo 7 Años, Selección de Maestros, Gran Añejo 15 Años, Máximo Extra Añejo rum and Tributo, the most recent of the collection of which production will be limited to only 2,500 bottles per year.Share on FB Share on TT