Friday, December 26, 2014

U.S. Rum War between Bacardi and Pernod Ricard

     With President Obama's executive order to bring back diplomatic relations with Cuba, come the potential for a rum ware between tow of the largest producers of rum in the world.  Bacardi and Pernod Ricard will be back at it over the "Havana Club" brand name.  Below are excerpts of and article I ran across in the
     Forget a real war with Cuba. Enter the prospect of a rum war.   With the Cold War in the rear view mirror, President Obama's decision to loosen American trade restrictions on Cuba has made a diplomatic d├ętente possible-but could also set off a corporate skirmish with potentially billions of dollars at stake.   It all has to do with the Cuban rum Havana Club, which was first manufactured in the 19th century. Following the Cuban revolution in the late 1950s, the communist government seized the brand's distillery, without compensation. But communist cadres aren't natural rum-makers, so the regime began a partnership with French company Pernod Ricard.   Bacardi, another company that saw its assets famously expropriated by the regime, purchased the American "Havana Club" trademark from its original owner in the late '90s. 

     So in America, "Havana Club" is made by Bacardi in Puerto Rico and can be found in five states. Everywhere else in the world, it's Cuban-made and distributed by Pernod Ricard.   Assuming that America's trade relationship with Cuba continues to improve, this could mean that the Cuban-made Havana Club could soon be available in the United States. But whose version will it be?
     "The central question now is who will get to bring Cuban-distilled Havana Club rum back to the U.S.A.: Bacardi or Pernod. The mellowing of U.S.-Cuba relations could well spike a D.C. rum war," said Charles Benoit, a lawyer specializing in alcohol legal issues.
      The only question is where will "Havana Club" sold here in the states be "Havana Club" or "Havanista"?