Diageo to distribute Santiago de Cuba rum

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

13 August 2019

Drinks giant Diageo has signed a 50-50 joint venture deal with state-run Corporación Cuba Ron this week for the global distribution of Santiago de Cuba rum.

‘The joint venture... is in keeping with our strategy to invest behind growth opportunities in premium and above brands,’ commented Dayalan Nayager, managing director of Diageo GB, Ireland and France.

The Santiago de Cuba brand is the Caribbean island’s second largest rum after Havana Club, which has been marketed by French firm Pernod Ricard under a similar partnership arrangement since the 90s.

The Santiago de Cuba portfolio is composed of Carta Blanca, Añejo and two expressions with indication of age, a 11yo and a 12yo. ‘More than just a rum, Santiago de Cuba was born in the city where the history and tradition of Cuban light rum originated,’ said the president of Corporación Cuba Ron, Juan Gonzalez Escalona. ‘It is an expression of its people and part of our Cuban tradition and culture.’

Diageo’s move is in line with the latest figures released by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), which highlight that the rum category is in steady growth. Last year, the market share of rum in Britain was second only to gin, with nearly 35 million bottles sold.

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