The boss of Havana Club rum would welcome official origin recognition for Cuban rum.
Marc Beuve-Mery, the managing director of Havana Club International – a joint venture between Pernod Ricard and Cuban company Cuba Ron S.A - said: “It would make sense. We could add what exists for Cognac and Scotch whisky.
“It would help to defend the specifics of Cuban rum and rum in general.”
Beuve-Mery said Havana Club was one of the first Cuban rums to claim authenticity on their bottle label with ‘El ron de Cuba’ and a label outlining the product’s origin.
The Cuban government set out a legal definition of Cuban rum in 2007. Resolution 135 includes rules like only using Cuban molasses, a natural aging process and the use of American white oak barrels that were previously used for whiskey.
Havana Club is currently spreading the message of authenticity through its bartender Master Class programme. Since its inception in 2004, 15,000 bartenders have participated.
Beuve-Mery said: “I’m quite sure that bartenders know about Havana Club’s authenticity. It’s important to defend the specifics of Cuban rum and rum in general. I disagree that provenance is not important.”
Cuba is not a member of the West Indies Rum and Spirit Producers Association (WIRSPA). Beuve-Mery voiced support of WIRSPA’s Authentic Caribbean Rum mark and ‘everything that goes with premiumising and explaining the roots of a product’. But he said problems would arise if the public understood WIRSPA’s mark as the only ‘Authentic Caribbean Rum’ – i.e all others are not.
The news followed Havana Club's announcement that it expects to reach 5 million 9 litre case sales by 2013.
The company noted 13% annual sales growth in 2008 from 3 million cases to 3.4 million.
Havana Club International managing director Marc Beuve-Mery said: "There has been a significant growth in sales from most of our markets, more than 40 have demonstrated 10% increase or more. Germany, in particular, illustrates the brand dynamism, with 26% increase and has become the number one export market."
The rum is available in 125 countries but not in the US, due the the embargo. The US accounts for roughly 40% of the global rum market.
Beuve-Mery told Drinks International in Havana, Cuba, that although white rum grew less rapidly, it was still popular with locals and tourists in Cuba and grew at 6% in the country. Cuba accounts for one third of Havana Club´s total sales.
The brand has also launched online initiatives including an arts and culture website called www.havana-cultura.com