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Old 02-27-2008, 02:21 PM   #1
Edward Hamilton
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Default Havana Club speaks out over Bacardi battle, Castro departure

26 February 2008


Source: Jessica Harvey
Havana_Club International (HCI) has spoken out about its longstanding legal feud with Bacardi over the rights to the Havana Club rum brand, and the "opportunity" Fidel Castro's resignation could represent for future trade with the US.
Speaking to just-drinks on Friday (22 February), the Pernod Ricard and Cuban government joint venture said that Bacardi's rum, also called Havana Club and currently being sold in Miami in the US, "is not a good product", adding that it was simply an attempt to "show that they [Bacardi] are there [in the US marketplace]" to "see what could happen".
Havana Club International director general Marc Beuve-Mery said: "They don't plan to make it a commercial success, and they are perfectly capable of making a good rum, but they didn't try. They just wanted to apply the space."
Bacardi has long claimed that the Havana Club brand and associated assets were illegally confiscated from its original owners by the current Cuban government and has a pending application to register the mark in its own name.
Bacardi says that the company that historically produced and exported Havana Club, Jose Arechabala, was the continuation of a business that was founded in Cuba in 1878. In 1960, Bacardi claims, the company was seized by the Cuban government.
In 1993, the Government formed HCI with Pernod to produce and market the brand globally outside the US, where the trade embargo blocked the sale of Cuban products.
Beuve-Mery explained: "We are winning every (legal) case in Spain and they've taken it to the Supreme Court and they've lost every time to the point where the judge says: 'Come on guys, you're just trying to put down the competition'. They say there are rights, but there are no rights. They say they bought something from someone who had not maintained their property. The Arechabala family stopped protecting their brand name. In Spain, we're given full credit for what was said. In the US, it doesn't work. The lobbying of Bacardi became stronger and stronger. But, (globally) we're really growing faster than they are, and they're losing year on year and what they lose, we gain."
When asked about the resignation of Fidel Castro leading to the possibility of the US trade embargo being removed, Beuve-Mery described entering the marketplace as "a great opportunity".
"Some say it could take time, but there is no way we can predict what will happen. We can defend our brand in the US. I'm sure that Bacardi would not like us to enter the US market, there is no doubt. The US accounts for 40% of the rum market and so we're growing 15% year on year and we're playing on just half of the field, we've gained globally speaking a point of market share every year and they've lost (a point) every year. If we entered the US we would start with a 0% market share and so we can only get better," added Beuve-Mery.
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:20 PM   #2
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We can only keep our fingers crossed.............
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:07 AM   #3
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Default Havana Club

Does Havana club make any preminum dark rums or aged rums?? I've enjoyed the blanc but found it to be OK but not great.
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac View Post
Does Havana club make any preminum dark rums or aged rums?? I've enjoyed the blanc but found it to be OK but not great.
The 7 year old is good. It actually has an almost creamy quality to it. Distinctive, smoky, and very satisfying.
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac View Post
Does Havana club make any preminum dark rums or aged rums?? I've enjoyed the blanc but found it to be OK but not great.
The 15 year old is exceptional but unfortunately very overpriced. I agree with Dood's comments on the 7 year old too
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Old 02-28-2008, 02:30 PM   #6
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The 7 year is one of my fav rums, i drink it all the time.. its a very easy rum to drink, very friendly.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:14 PM   #7
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The Anejo is also good for mixed drinks and if your budget conscious.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:50 PM   #8
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Ed,

Quasi related. I was curious and maybe you can give or get the answer. Havana Club Barrel Proof... how can it be "barrel proof" but majestically it appears to always be bottled at a fixed 45% / 90є?

Is this another one of those "play on words" type of things dealing with old lore... something like Glenfarclas' 105? Or do they simply define higher strength as "barrel strength"?
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac View Post
Does Havana club make any preminum dark rums or aged rums?? I've enjoyed the blanc but found it to be OK but not great.
Certainly. The 7 year old is a decent and affordable rum although I didn't find any cream Dood found. Read my review HC7 review here. Havana Club also makes a more expensive 15 year old rum as mentioned by Paulipbartender and dare I say it... the Havana Club Maximo. Maximo is a very expensive rum for rich collectors.
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:21 PM   #10
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If one looks at the wording of the US law which enables the enforcement of the embargo, it states that "...a Castro" or "...person or persons of the family named Castro holding position of dictatorship...". Since his brother, a Castro, is still in power a repeal of the actual law is still needed. But, more importantly, it would take a president which is willing to buck the south Florida Cuban American sentiment against repeal. Actually, this sentiment declines each decade as the older generation passes on, but it is still a force. Bacardi's seeming victory in the name/trademark issue further complicates the matter. And, of course, the whole mess of distributorship would need to be resolved around Bacardi's certain pressure to keep HC out. So, I don't think that HC will reach shores, legally, any time soon.

Last edited by rumdog007; 03-02-2008 at 04:23 PM.
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