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Bacardi evokes Cuba’s ‘golden age’ in taking Havana Club rum national

Bacardi evokes Cuba’s ‘golden age’ in taking Havana Club rum national

The rum war with Cuba, which makes its own Havana Club, heats up
Cuba still is registered owner of Havana Club trademark in the United States
Bacardi claims it owns the mark and is backing it with a splashy new ad

Cuba may have won the latest salvo in the trademark battle over who has
the right to use the Havana Club rum brand in the United States, but
that isn’t keeping Bacardi from rolling out nationwide distribution of
the iconic rum brand with a splashy ad campaign that harkens back to the
island’s “golden age.”

Bacardi, which contends it is the rightful owner of the Havana Club name
because it purchased it and the rum recipe from the family that made the
rum in Cuba prior to the 1959 Revolution, plans to kick off its new
marketing strategy Wednesday with the introduction of Havana Club Añejo
Clásico, a dark rum, and its “The Golden Age, Aged Well” advertising
campaign in Florida.

Among the tag lines for the new campaign are: “Even a Revolution
Couldn’t Topple the Rum,” and “The , The Decadence, The Dazzle,
The Glamour. If Only Someone Had Bottled It.”

Through the summer, the new dark rum, which is double-aged in oak
barrels for one to three years, and Havana Club white rum, which are
distilled in Puerto Rico and bottled in Jacksonville, will be introduced
in new markets across the United States.

Because of the interest in all things Cuban with the resumption of
diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, “it’s a good
moment to introduce a new generation” to the brand, said Fabio Di
Giammarco, global vice of rums for Bacardi. “It’s an exciting
time for us and the Havana Club franchise in the United States.”

But with the recent resurgence of U.S. to Cuba, many Americans
have already been discovering another version of Havana Club, the one
distilled in Cuba and distributed worldwide by a partnership of
Cubaexport and French spirits maker Pernod Ricard.

While American travelers can now purchase a combined total of $100 worth
of alcohol and tobacco products while visiting the island, the
against Cuba still precludes the sale of Cuban Havana Club or any other
Cuban rum in the United States.

The day when the embargo is lifted and Cuban rum can be exported to the
U.S. market is what makes the trademark so valuable. Bacardi and Cuba
have been fighting over it for the past two decades in U.S. courts.

Cuba Ron, the Cuban rum company, and Pernod Ricard contend the
“authentic” Havana Club rum is made in Cuba.

“Havana Club is the true spirit of Cuba: a genuine Cuban rum produced in
Cuba from Cuban sugarcane,” said Apolline Celeyron, a spokesperson for
Pernod Ricard. “If the U.S. embargo on Cuban products is lifted, we’ll
be the first company to offer a true Cuban rum to our American neighbors.”

But not if Bacardi can help it. Bacardi stakes its claim to the use of
the Havana Club name to the early 1990s when it purchased the name and
recipe from the Arechabala family, who made the rum in Cuba between 1934
and 1960. After their plant was seized, they went into exile.

The Arechabalas, however, allowed their U.S. trademark to lapse in 1973,
and three years later, Cubaexport snapped it up, registering it with the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

After purchasing the trademark from the Arechabala family, Bacardi began
making its own Havana Club in Puerto Rico in very limited quantities and
won a string of court victories against Cubaexport and Pernod Ricard,
claiming that Cuba had “fraudulently obtained” the trademark and that it
was not valid because it dealt with a property that was illegally

But the tide turned in mid-January, when the patent office renewed
Cubaexport’s registration of the Havana Club trademark.

Now the two sides are back in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.,
fighting over ownership of the trademark, and Bacardi is reinventing its
version of Havana Club.

Bacardi has asked the court to reverse Cubaexport’s trademark
registration and declare Bacardi the rightful owner of the common law
rights to the Havana Club name, said Rick Wilson, Bacardi’s senior vice
president of external affairs and corporate responsibility. Common law,
he said, “for the most part is based on usage.”

So Bacardi’s Havana Club is going national.

There will be new vintage-style packaging featuring the Arechabala
family crest, which was used on the family’s rum packaging and
advertising beginning in1934, and a portrait of the company’s founder.

“We are extremely touched by the new packaging and direction for Havana
Club in the U.S.,” said José “Pepo” Arechabala, a great-grandson of
founder José Arechabala Aldama. “Our family was disheartened after the
forced exile from Cuba, and has always felt the need for justice for
what happened to our ancestors. We feel that their life’s work continues
to live on through this re-branding of Havana Club, and is something
that we can all be truly proud of.”

Wilson said the Arechabalas sold Havana Club in the United States from
the 1930s through the 1950s, positioning it as “an export brand to
showcase the family’s rum abroad.”

The new advertising campaign that will accompany the Havana Club
relaunch will capture the “exuberant spirit of the Golden Age In
Havana,” from the 1920s when Americans flocked to Cuba during
prohibition, to the 1950s “when everything stylish and glamorous reigned
supreme,” according to Bacardi.

Billboards for the relaunched Havana Club should begin appearing in the
Miami area this week.

After the repackaged dark and white rums roll out in Florida,
distribution will spread to Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey,
Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas in July and August. Havana Club
will begin appearing in liquor stores and high-end restaurants in the
rest of the country in September, according to Bacardi. A bottle of the
dark rum will retail for $21.99 and the Añejo Blanco for $19.99.

The company is targeting the millennial generation, and the new campaign
will emphasize the resurgent cocktail culture. Among the featured
cocktails is the Rum Mule, a concoction of dark rum, ginger beer,
bitters and two lime wedges in a highball glass.

“Now we are doing the brand justice,” Di Giammarco said.

Source: Bacardi evokes Cuba’s ‘golden age’ in taking Havana Club rum
national | In Cuba Today –

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