Diageo hits back at Puerto Rican boycott plan

09 December, 2009

Diageo has hit back at the National Puerto Rican Coalition, after the Coalition encouraged Puerto Ricans to boycott Diageo drinks.

Diageo said: “The recent attack against Diageo by the National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC) is misguided and damaging to local businesses and the best interests of Puerto Rico.  Based on mis-information, this proposed boycott of Diageo’s products would hurt local business owners and employees in the hospitality industry, the very same Puerto Rican citizens the NPRC is allegedly defending.”

Diageo’s agreement with a third party rum supplier in Puerto Rico will come to an end in 2011 and in 2007, the company entered into negotiations for a new contract.

Diageo said: “We began what would be many months of negotiations with the third party supplier in Puerto Rico. At that time, Diageo also began to explore our rum production options outside of Puerto Rico, including the US Virgin Islands. We contacted the delegate from the Virgin Islands at that time to determine if building a facility in the Virgin Islands might be a cost-effective alternative that would allow us to remain in the United States.

“Unfortunately, the Puerto Rican supplier was not able to put together an agreement that was viable for Diageo, and ultimately we had to make the difficult decision to source our rum elsewhere.  When it became clear that we would be ending the agreement in Puerto Rico, Diageo went above and beyond its contractual obligations and made its future plans public in 2008, years prior to the expiration of the agreement, in order to give the third-party supplier and the Puerto Rican Government ample time to attract replacement rum production. Diageo continues to honor its contract today and conforms to both the spirit and the letter of the agreement. Any suggestion that Diageo acted irresponsibly is simply inaccurate.

“A boycott would depress government tax revenues on product sold and would damage the business of local bars and restaurants during Puerto Rico’s critical tourism industry in the heart of peak holiday tourism season, making it misdirected at best and vindictive at worst.”

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