HAVANA, Feb. 14th – Havana Club, Cuba’s state-run rum maker, has officially launched its limited edition “Tributo 2019.” Each 70cl bottle, sold for 400 Euros, is said to offer a “balanced aroma and taste, with sweet notes of dry fruits, highly evolve oak and subtle flavors of vanillin and dried fruits, especially roast almond.”
HAVANA, june 4th Bacardi has launched an eye-catching advertising campaign for its rum line “Havana Club,” signaling an ongoing battle between the company and the Cuban government over the iconic trademark.
Bacardi introduced a dark rum called Havana Club Añejo Clasico with an ad campaign that conjures the period in Cuba before the Castro revolution – “The Golden Age, Aged Well.” One of the campaign’s tag lines is “The Freedom, The Decadence, The Dazzle, The Glamour. If Only Someone Had Bottled It.”
The new rum is produced in Puerto Rico and double-aged in oak barrels, and will be selling in several U.S. markets this summer.
Fabio Di Giammarco, Global Vice President of rums for Bacardi, said to NBC News Latino that one of the reasons for the timing of their launch is because “we see a trend of consumers seeking authentic product stories, and Havana Club has a lot of story to tell.”
And during the past couple of decades, Havana Club truly has had a lot of story to tell. Bacardi, the largest privately held spirits maker in the world, says they are the rightful owners of Havana Club because they purchased the recipe and rights to the trademark from the family who founded it. They have been selling Havana Club since 1995.
But the French company Pernod Ricard says the trademark belongs to their Cuban partner Cubaexport. Pernod made a deal with Cuba’s communist-run government’s Cubaexport in 1993, to distribute their version of Havana Club around the world. The trademark was recently renewed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
To better understand the clash over the trademark, one must go back several decades. The Arechabala family was making rum in Cuba — under the name Havana Club – since 1934 and even selling it in the U.S. market. After the 1959 revolution, Cuban distilleries were seized by the Cuban government. The Arechabala family went into exile after losing their business, as did the Bacardi family. Bacardi, founded in 1862, was a top rum maker in Cuba before its assets were confiscated.
But the Bacardi business did not end after the revolution because they had already built distilleries in Puerto Rico and Mexico. After purchasing the Havana Club recipe and trademark from the Arechabala family in 1994, Bacardi applied for a U.S. trademark. But the Arechabalas’ registration had lapsed in 1973 and the Cuban government seized the opportunity and registered Havana Club as theirs.
Bacardi and Cubaexport – along with Pernod – have been fighting over the trademark for the past couple of decades. Earlier this year, the U.S. patent office renewed Cubaexport’s registration of the Havana Club trademark. Until then, Cubaexport had not been able to renew the registration because the U.S. trade embargo prevented it from paying the registration fee. But the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control changed its mind in January and allowed Cuba to pay the fee and register Havana Club as theirs again.
“The legal battle is based on sound principles of protecting property rights from illegal confiscations without compensation. That should be a personal as well as a business principle to live by, believe in, and to protect,” said Rick Wilson, Bacardi’s Senior Vice President of external affairs and corporate responsibility.
The day the embargo is lifted, the Cuban government will be able to export its Havana Club to the U.S., which makes ownership of the trademark appealing to both sides.
In the meantime, the trademark showdown continues in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Bacardi’s advertising campaign will focus on Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Denver, Las Vegas, New York City, and Philadelphia. Its two new products – Havana Club Añejo Clasico and Havana Club Añejo Blanco – will pop up in Florida first and in other markets throughout the summer. A bottle of Havana Club Añejo Clasico will go for $21.99 and Havana Club Añejo Blanco will go for $19.99.
HAVANA, may 6th Havana Club is hoping that a newly implemented brand vision and updated packaging for its core product Havana Club 7, will help to “re-establish integrity and balance” in the rum brand.
The Pernod Ricard-owned drink wanted to focus more on its Cuban roots and approached Pearlfisher to create a brand vision, architecture and design aesthetic, which first focuses on Havana Club 7.
The agency wanted to bring a sense of authenticity to Havana Club and following a trip to Havana itself worked with Cuban artists to better understand the different visual cues of the vibrant culture of the city. Pearlfisher then rooted the reinvention of the brand in the idea of ‘crafted by hand’.
The agency’s design team combined two classic Cuban aesthetics, cigar art and screen printing to bring the crafted idea to the fore. For the structural design for the Havana Club 7 bottle inspiration was taken from the ‘Maestros del Ron Cubano’, Havana Club’s rum masters, who asked for the bottle to “be as carefully considered as its precious contents”. The new bottle is bolder and more substantial than its predecessor, with defined shoulders and a sturdier base.
The bottle also features a series of unique neck tags to celebrate individuals responsible for different stages of the rum’s production process to highlight the ‘human touch’, which is inherent in the brand and to connecting connoisseurs and first-time drinkers alike with the craftsmen behind the rum.
Nick Blacknell, marketing director at Havana Club added: “Pearlfisher has done a brilliant job to unveil a new look for Havana Club 7 that speaks of our proud Cuban roots and the people behind this revered rum. Capitalising on the growing global demand for high quality sipping rums, this new bottle will bring our Cuban spirit to international Havana Club fans and continue to support our leadership of the super-premium rum category.”
HAVANA, Feb. 29th The 2016 edition is led by rums aged in 80-year-old casks, which have been blended with other rums to give an “aromatic and intense” taste. The liquid is deep amber in colour and is said to offer notes of dried tropical fruit.
“Creating the Havana Club Tributo Collection is a fascinating process, as each release will provide a new and unique taste experience, achieved through experimentation with rum bases from our reserves,” said Asbel Morales, maestro ronero for Havana Club.
“By blending rums using very old and rare casks, we have been able to create an expression for 2016 with a luxurious amber glow, full-bodied fruit flavours and a long finish.”
Further expressions in the Havana Club Tributo Collection will be unveiled annually at the Cuban Habanos Festival.
Packaging for the 2016 edition was designed by London-based agency Nude Brand Creation.
“The packaging was inspired by the wide variety of architectural styles in Cuba, in particular the Spanish baroque and the neoclassical, which complement each other so perfectly, just like the blend of different rums selected to make the product,” said Nude Brand Creation co-founder, Bernard Gormley.
“The filigree and detailing intrigued us and influenced the graphics, along with the colour blue – the national colour of Cuba – and gold that enhance the luxury cues and on-shelf standout.
“The background pattern on the bottle label and gift pack was inspired by the ceramic tiles found in walkways, walls and floors of Havana. The signature of Maestro Ronero Asbel Morales and the individual number of each bottle is displayed on the intricate premium label.”
HAVANA, Feb. 27th (EFE) After winning the court case for rights to the Havana Club brand in the United States, the maker aims to have its rum become the first Cuban product to be sold in the U.S. when the long-standing embargo is lifted, because the North American country is a market with enormous potential and almost half the worldwide sales of premium rum.
“We’re sure Havana Club rum will be the top Cuban product that is soonest to enter the U.S. market, which represents 40 percent of worldwide rum sales, so the challenge and the potential are enormous,” the director of market development for Havana Club, Sergio Valdes, told EFE.
Valdes said that with a market like the U.S. still off limits, Havana Club is already the third best-selling rum in the world, a position the brand could easily surpass once Cuban companies are allowed unrestricted exports to the neighboring country, eager as it is to buy “emblematic products” from the island that have been banned there for the last 50 years like rum and tobacco.
Without yet having full access to that rich market, the mixed Cuban-French company that markets Havana Club – made up of France’s Pernod Ricard and Cuba’s Cuba Ron – nonetheless took a giant step forward several weeks ago by finally winning the 20-year legal battle with Bacardi for rights to the brand in the United States.
From that legal tug-of-war arose an irregular situation: Bacardi marketed the brand in the U.S. while Pernod Ricard sold it in the rest of the world after 1993 when the mixed company was founded.
The rum conflict goes back to the Cuban Revolution’s 1959 victory, when Fidel Castro confiscated the Havana Club company, founded in 1935 by the Arechabala family from Spain, and the new government began to market the brand. In the 1990s, the family sold the rights to Bacardi in the United States.
In all the world’s markets and including all lines of rum, Havana Club in 2015 sold some 4 million cases, or 36 million liters of rum, a product that for the company’s management is more than just a drink, it is “a little bit of Cuban life and culture that we are bringing to the world.”
HAVANA,Feb.22th The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has accepted an application to renew a trademark for the term ‘Havana Club’ until 2026.
Drinks maker Pernod Ricard markets the spirit through a joint venture with the Cuban government’s export company Cubaexport.
In a statement on Friday, February 19, Pernod Ricard said it was “pleased to confirm” that the trademark had been renewed in the US for the next ten years.
In January, Cubaexport was granted an initial renewal until January 27. A further application to renew the trademark until 2026 was also submitted and has now been accepted.
“The renewal of the registration means that the dispute over ownership of the Havana Club brand in the US can be returned to the courts, where it can be decided on its merits,” Pernod Ricard said.
Cubaexport and drinks maker Bacardi have been in dispute over who owns the rights to market the spirit in the US, where Cubaexport does not currently sell its products.
Bacardi has sold Havana Club-branded rum in the US since 1994. It acquired the rights from Havana Club’s founding family, who fled Cuba around 1960. The rum is made in Puerto Rico due to the Cuban embargo.
Although plans are in place to lift the long-standing embargo, it is not known when that will be.
In 1976, Cubaexport was granted a US trademark but it was taken away by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in 2006.
Cubaexport pursued the matter all the way to the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case in 2012.
Earlier this month, WIPR reported that Bacardi had filed a freedom of information request with the US Department of the Treasury seeking information about Cubaexport and Pernod Ricard’s trademark renewal.
Bacardi said it wanted to see all documents, communications and files that were created, used or maintained in relation to the ‘Havana Club’ trademark registration.
Ian Fitzsimons, general counsel of Pernod Ricard, said: “We are confident that Cubaexport will prevail in defending its registration in the pending litigation.”
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