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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Bacardi Is to Bring Havana Club Rum Back to the U.S.
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Bacardi Is to Bring Havana Club Rum Back to the U.S.
Rum Numb Davey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 17, 2005
Posts: 204
From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted: 2006-08-09 11:02 am   Permalink

This is an interesting development. If and when the regime in Cuba changes and the embargo is lifted Southern Wine & Spirits (14 US States, largest US Distributor) has the rights for importation of Havana Club.
If Bacardi owns the rights to the name "Havana Club" which they now do in US, Southern will label authentic Cuban Havana Club under a new name like Havana Nights, Buena Vista Club, or some other approved name they have waiting.

You see, Southern is deeply in bed with Cruzan (Todd Hunter) and are directly attempting (good luck - typical American consumer is label whore) to erode National market share of Bacardi. By that token, Bacardi knows that if Cuban government/US mend enough fences upon Fidel's demise, then the ONE significant brand of rum that can ACTUALLY hurt them is in the ENEMY (SWS) hands. That is a significant reason they snatched the name, as they want to diminish the brand power.

Pernod has become a major supplier to Southern in USA, and they have done a fantastic job positioning Havana Club in Europe and Asia. Bacardi knows this and they are vicious at protecting their business as #1 Rum producer and marketer.

How do I know all this? I am a wine and spirits broker and Southern Wine & Spirits is a wholesaler of mine. The liquor business is big business like oil, banking, and fast food. Bacardi is a total anomaly as it is family owned and controlled, and the family are zealots at protecting their products position. I am not someone who bashes another for protecting their interests. How would you like some dictator to come snatch your company that you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into? The Bacardi's were historically wronged, and the rose above and created a super nova of a rum company.

Sure, Deussen produces slick ads for Bacardi in the vein of Bud, Coke, or Mickey D's. It is because all of us "sheeple" set around buying that crap. I may not, and perhaps you do not, but we are not in the vast millions who do everyday. You can buy authentic Havana Club in Mexico all day long. It is NOT cheap, as many falsely report as Mexican excise and tariff on import liquor is outrageous. It is about 20 US Dollars a bottle unaged in Mexican chains like Soriana. As far as authentic Cuban cigars, Mexico has become the BEST counterfeiter of Habanos in the World. The real deal is also very expensive, and all the border towns sell gullible gringos Mexican fake Cohibas all day long with fancy boxes and fake stamps. Usually dehumidified, and way overpriced for Mexican tobacco. Buyer beware! That being said, Havana is a great place to pay for fake Cohibas, as well.

In closing, it is not some conspiracy to keep mythical brands of Tiki top choice spirits out of our hands or off our bamboo bars...it is all market considerations. It is all about the all-mighty dollar!
_________________
Just finished a bottle of Havana Club Anejo 3 Anos, which was excellantly suited for many rum cocktails!


 
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Bargoyle
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 18, 2004
Posts: 1025
From: Tolland, CT
Posted: 2006-08-09 1:53 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-08-09 10:38, thejab wrote:

You obviously have not tasted Havana Club rums then. Not that I blame you, they're not easy to obtain in the U.S. But, the next time you're out of the country go in a bar and try some (most bars outside the U.S. stock it).



Actaully I have.

Being a New Englander, I make the trek to visit our Canuk friends from the Great White North about once a year (havent gone this year, sadly). And while I love the Cuban cigars (cohibas in particular...althought the US approved dominican cohibas are pretty good too), so far I've been underwhelmed by the Cuban rum.

Most likely its because of the drinks I'm mixing them in. (Libres & Planters & Mai Tais arent the best to really let a rum breathe) or perhaps its because I've stuck with mostly blanco, where I now have an absolute passion for dark rums, but I havent seen where they blow away Appleton Reserve, or Gossling, or some of the other top shelf stuff we can easily get in the US.

Dont get me wrong, they're good, and if available in the US I would definately be buying them....but the fact that they're Taboo is what makes them taste that much better (same with the cigars)

My point on the whole subject was to wait, taste & see. Soon BOTH HCs might be available in the US.

As far as Bacardi trying to grab the Branding Rights to the name before the embargo is lifted, well, thats going on on both sides of the curtain.

And, just think...if the HC from bacardi actually IS better than the state owned cuban HC (using the ancient secret recipe).....I mean, how good of a rum will that be? We'll be chuggin it like water in New England!

Then again, bacardi could f* it all up and just cash in on the name and make a quick buck.

My point is, we dont know. Its a little early to be throwing the stones.

Once again, just my 2cents.


 
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Pepe le Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 325
From: Vancouver, BC
Posted: 2006-08-09 3:01 pm   Permalink

I guess, to me, (politics aside) it just isn't Cuban rum unless it's made in Cuba. Not to say that Havana Club USA will be bad, it's just seems some what of a deception to make money. It's like Ron Matusalem (made in the spirit of Cuba) being made in the Dominican Republic versus the Ron Matusalem made domestically in Cuba which is vastly superior in my opinion. (sadly, I'm sucking the last drops out of the bottle I brought back from Cuba). Having been to Cuba and sampled their domestic rums, I can say that they still know how to make an excellent rum. I agree that there is a 'Taboo' factor at play (HC is definitely not my favorite!) but their rums certainly have their own distinct flavor compared with those from Barbados, Jamaica, West Indies, etc.
Should the embargo be lifted, I hope that the exiled rum barons their companies uphold that same quality/distinction when they claim back what they lost.


 
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Swamp Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 08, 2006
Posts: 158
From: The Shadowy Moss Draped South
Posted: 2006-08-09 7:19 pm   Permalink

Cuba is definitely a time capsule for Mid-20th Century quality and know-how. I am sure that if the embargo is lifted rum will not be the only thing washing up on our shores again. Hell. the classic car sales are going to make those people rich! Anyway, who knows what lies on the horizon. I personally feel that ole' Castro has kicked the proverbial bucket and they're not letting the cat out of the bag yet. After growing up listening to the old-timers talk of their wonderful vacation excursions to Cuba, I must say that I am long over-due for a visit. Quality Rum, Unique architecture, scuba diving, warm sandy beaches, Rum, new explorations just 90 miles from home...Rum, Cohibas by the box, tropical breezes...**sputter** **sputter*** DAMN, Politics sure has a heck of a way of pissing on a fun-loving parade. I apologize that this has digressed from the original topic, but I needed to vent.


AAAARGH!

Swamp


 
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velveteenlounge
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 13, 2004
Posts: 324
From: Velveteen Lounge, NY
Posted: 2006-08-18 08:21 am   Permalink

There was an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal about this very topic. You have to subscribe to read it online, but I saved the jpg to my site: http://www.velveteenlounge.com/Bacardi1.JPG

I was able to click on it to make it bigger (and legible).


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pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1564
From: Mass.
Posted: 2006-08-18 08:54 am   Permalink

Thanks. That was nice of you.

 
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velveteenlounge
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 13, 2004
Posts: 324
From: Velveteen Lounge, NY
Posted: 2006-08-18 09:56 am   Permalink

You're very welcome! I know it's a topic close to many of our hearts.


 
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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2201
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2006-09-10 2:04 pm   Permalink

OK, a bottle of this stuff was staring at me from the shelves of the local source..... Can't make fun of it till we try it.

Last night at a little shindig at Loki's place I had the opportunity to try out a bottle on several people and get a wide range of opinions and here is what we found:

Straight from the bottle, no chill, no lime, no water, most people did the foot-banging head-spinning Whoaa kind of thing and then in a raspy voice croak out "Smooooooth."

A short while later after most had the opportunity to regain their senses, a very well chilled shot was liked much better by all. Or the first shot was still eating their brain stem and this second shot was like putting gasoline on the fire. Not sure which....

One of the ladies present has a 'secret' source for the Real Havana Club and said that this was not the same but it was still very good. She said it was an apples to oranges kind of thing and then asked me where I got my bottle. I offered her a trade but she wasn't going for it.

So, after seeing that the stuff didn't kill off any of Loki's guests I decided that I would try it. It was indeed a very smooth rum overall, the first notes being the astringent quality common in white liquors and then settling into hints of something green and airy. Not much complexity in the flavor overall, but none was expected being a "Premium White Rum." I am not sure if I was surprised because my expectations were so low or if it really is a good rum. Further research is going to be needed.

And, to just to make sure... Loki, did everybody make it out alive?

Overall, don't hate this rum simply because it is the latest Barcardi offering and has a lot of story behind it. It is worthy of being on most bars and if used carefully would make a fine addition to quite a few drinks.
_________________


 
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Loki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 04, 2005
Posts: 541
From: Boca Raton, FL
Posted: 2006-09-11 07:04 am   Permalink

Did everyone make it out alive?

well....
Sorry Tikilicious...but not really

The Havana Club is not bad at all. From what i remember, it is very dry and has a unique taste. Much nicer when chilled. It's the only barcardi product i'll allow in my bar. Still not sure what to make with it, but time will tell.
_________________
"He who does anything because it is the custom makes no choice."


 
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Kona Chris
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Posts: 240
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-09-12 02:48 am   Permalink

Of course the most appropriate way to test this would be to make a daiquiri. Mmmm...

Frankly I'm a fan of the "Daiquiri Deluxe" which substitutes Orgeat for the simple syrup. Really, really good.

Chris
_________________


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Rattiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2003
Posts: 422
From: Key West, FL
Posted: 2006-09-15 08:08 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-08-09 11:02, Rum Numb Davey wrote:
Bacardi is a total anomaly as it is family owned and controlled, and the family are zealots at protecting their products position. I am not someone who bashes another for protecting their interests. How would you like some dictator to come snatch your company that you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into? The Bacardi's were historically wronged, and the rose above and created a super nova of a rum company.

Sure, Deussen produces slick ads for Bacardi in the vein of Bud, Coke, or Mickey D's. It is because all of us "sheeple" set around buying that crap. I may not, and perhaps you do not, but we are not in the vast millions who do everyday. You can buy authentic Havana Club in Mexico all day long. It is NOT cheap, as many falsely report as Mexican excise and tariff on import liquor is outrageous. It is about 20 US Dollars a bottle unaged in Mexican chains like Soriana. As far as authentic Cuban cigars, Mexico has become the BEST counterfeiter of Habanos in the World. The real deal is also very expensive, and all the border towns sell gullible gringos Mexican fake Cohibas all day long with fancy boxes and fake stamps. Usually dehumidified, and way overpriced for Mexican tobacco. Buyer beware! That being said, Havana is a great place to pay for fake Cohibas, as well.



Nice post

I was in the cigar biz for several years and got to know many of the Cuban expat cigar families, some quite well. These are very good people who work hard and care very much about what they make and why they are still making it. Some are true folk heros now in the cigar industry having rebuilt their lives and businesses sometimes with little more than a few kilos of seeds and sweat. They also know it is hard to compete with the products they once created in their homeland as Cuba's soil and micro climates create some of the finest tobacco in the world. One of the reasons for this is that Cuba is actually an island that came from the Pacific,
AGAIN Cuba was once a PACIFIC ISLAND! So the soil is different than the rest of the Antilles. Does it also affect the way the rum tastes? Maybe.......I do know one thing though, it will be over their dead bodies that those communist SOBs will be allowed to sell the products made in their stolen Cuban factories (or farms) in the USA. So the day that you see TRUE Havana Club or a Cuban Partagas sold legally in the USA will be the day that those Cubans have been able to claim their properties back. (meanwhile the French can have it ) That is why they are so brutal about it, as it is about more, much more than just business.

Oh yes and one more thing, the reason that the 'real deal' Cuban cigars and rum is so expensive is not just local taxes, it is the fact that the Castro Government KNOWS it has a unique, quality brand-name product that they know will bring them much needed hard currency so they sell it at a premium.......the capitalist hating, socialist revolutionaries that they are!


http://www.scotese.com/caribanim.htm

[ This Message was edited by: Rattiki 2006-10-23 06:37 ]


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Mike the Headhunter
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 190
From: Wastelands of western NC
Posted: 2006-10-21 12:01 am   Permalink

So let me get this straight, castro takes over the bacardi family moves to puerto rico and the cuban havana club people have to stay. So bacardi steals the havana club name in the us. While the real product is still being made, abeit under evil dictatorship by the same family/group? Just so bacardi will not have another rum company to compete with later or just to make a quick buck on our own stupidity(god bless americana)? and why do i still have bacardi in my 1974 hawaiian open golf decanter, and not jim beam(or some other good white puerto rican rum)?

_________________
I have never met a drink I didn't like, unless it was that time I met beer...



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PremEx
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 23, 2006
Posts: 290
From: Houston, Texas
Posted: 2006-10-21 3:22 pm   Permalink

Personally, I don't care if the Havana Club family gave Bacardi the okay to use the name. It's just not the same product: Cuban rum made in Cuba.

I find it really ironic that the U.S. government is the big guy and big pusher behind the World Trade Organization...and yet that very organization has come out against the awarding of the name to Bacardi. Go figure.

Guess Holly and I will just have to continue to get our true Havana Club rum on our trips to other countries. Like this photo:



...of Holly and I enjoying Cuban Havana Club Mojitos and Cuban Cohiba cigars at La Casa del Habano Cigar Lounge at the Sheraton Hong Kong.

Aaaah. I can taste it now.



 
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Queen Kamehameha
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2003
Posts: 1410
From: So Cal
Posted: 2006-10-21 6:08 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-08-08 14:35, Pepe le Tiki wrote:
Wow, just had a conversation about this with a fellow from my neighbourhood liquor store. He said as far as he knows, this only applies to the rights & distribution in the USA. The Havana Club we buy here in Canada and elsewhere in the world will still be produced in Cuba and distributed by Pernod Ricard....what a relief!


I just got some of the dark and light from a friend in italy and it says "made in Cuba" as well.


Amy


 
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TikiSan
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 29, 2003
Posts: 253
From: O.C., SoCal
Posted: 2006-12-19 5:04 pm   Permalink

So what has happend with Bacardi's re-launch? I can't find Havana Club on Bacardi's site and Google didn't return any newer news stories. I haven't seen Bacardi Havana Club at any stores. Someone on this thread tried it, but it was only silver. Is Bacardi making a dark?

Here is a story from The Miami Herald:


Posted on Tue, Aug. 08, 2006

Bacardi to re-launch Havana Club rum label
After a long legal battle, fans will get another taste of Havana Club rum. Bacardi is relaunching the product this week.
BY ELAINE WALKER
ewalker@MiamiHerald.com

Havana Club, the rum that evokes memories of toasts at glittery hot spots in pre-Castro Cuba, is coming this week to Florida bars, liquor stores and hotels.

Coming on the heels of a favorable ruling in a decade-long legal battle with French liquor giant Pernod Ricard and the Cuban government, Miami-based Bacardi U.S.A. is relaunching the Havana Club brand as a super-premium rum selling for $19.99 a bottle.

Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office deemed the Havana Club trademark held by Cubaexport ``cancelled/expired.''

Bringing Havana Club back to the United States is particularly gratifying for Ramon Arechabala. His family created the rum in 1935, and exported it to the United States and other countries until Jan. 1, 1960, when Fidel Castro's government seized the family's plant and trademark.

Arechabala, former sales manager of the family company, said Monday he vividly remembers the day the bodyguard of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto ''Che'' Guevara placed a gun to his head and took over the Havana Club distillery in Cardenas.

In recent years, Havana Club has been marketed by a joint venture involving Cubaexport, a Cuban government company, and Pernod Ricard. Because of the embargo on Cuba, it was not available in the United States.

`NOT DRINKABLE'

Although that Havana Club is popular in both Cuba and Europe, Arechabala declared it ``not drinkable.''

''Fidel lacks the formula of the right Havana Club,'' said Arechabala, 70, who has lived in Miami for 38 years. ``That's the only thing Fidel couldn't take from me.''

In the mid 1990s, Bacardi cut a deal with the Arechabalas for the rights to the family's recipe and the name Havana Club. The brand was introduced in the United States, but pulled from the shelves when the rum war ignited.

At least for now, however, here will be two versions of Havana Club for sale, one from Bacardi and the other from the Cuban/French joint venture.

Bacardi's new Havana Club will be bottled at the company's rum facilities in Puerto Rico. For now it will be available only in Florida because of limited supply.

LIMITED SUPPLY

But Bacardi executives said Monday that based on response, it will likely be rolled out to other key U.S. markets.

The timing of the Havana Club launch has nothing to do with any recent Cuba interest sparked by Castro's health issues, company executives said. And the U.S. Patent Office ruling was just coincidental with their plans to introduce the brand, they said.

Instead, executive said, it's all about capitalizing on strong consumer demand for super-premium liquor brands and the return of classic cocktails such as the daiquiri and mojito. The rum category, where Bacardi is already the top-selling brand in the world, has also been growing.

''We've been planning this for many years,'' said John Gomez, vice president and group marketing director for Bacardi U.S.A. ``We always owned the brand. There was no issue in our minds. It was only a question of when it was commercially appropriate for the relaunch.''

Cubaexport has claimed it obtained the rights to the Havana Club name in 1976 after José Arechabala S.A. allowed the trademark to lapse with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Cubaexport registered the trademark in 1976, but no compensation was ever provided to the Arechabala family.

U.S. courts have consistently ruled that Havana Club Holdings, the name of the French/Cuban joint venture, has no right to the trademark in the United States.

But the issue of who held the trademark remained unresolved until last week's decision.

Executives from Pernod Ricard were unavailable late Monday afternoon.

Unlike most countries, the United States typically gives priority to the first entity to utilize a brand, not the first to register it, said Miami attorney Jim Gale, whose firm Feldman Gale specializes in trademark and patent law.

But a trademark in one country has no impact on operations in another country, Gale said.

BUILDING NEW BUZZ

Bacardi plans to market Havana Club as a super-premium brand, along the lines of Grey Goose vodka, which the company also owns.

It will introduce the brand with trendsetters in South Florida and hopes the buzz will spread.

The product will start appearing locally this week.

Most other premium rums made by Bacardi or other companies are dark rums meant to be sipped, but Havana Club is a clear liquid that mixes well in cocktails.



© 2006 MiamiHerald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.miami.com


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