“For me and my contemporaries, the most important thing about this anniversary is that it is also a cultural event that takes place in a socioeconomic environment that allowed master rum-makers to create something so much better than what has existed previously”.
With these words, Juan González Escalona, president of the Cuba Ron Corporation, opened his interview with Cubaplus magazine, on the 150th anniversary of light rum in Cuba. He suggested that the event should be, above all, a “vindication of the spirit of renewal that was responsible for a step forward”, which was the result of history, specific conditions, and of the founders' confidence in the environment's special conditions. It also resulted from a technological redesign of the qualitative, productive, commercial, and consumption possibilities of a new distilled product.
“This 150th anniversary puts us in a very special position to honour our master rum-makers and their commitment to continuing to search for new aromas and flavors, while maintaining the quality that distinguishes Cuban rum” added Escalona.
In honouring the company that represents the best of the rum tradition in Cuba and the Caribbean, its president referred to a more sombre and less known fact: “In the 1920's, some of the first rummakers decided to open rum factories in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Their goal was to target the large US market, and to decrease their production costs without losing the prestige gained in the Cuban market. This was the beginning of an uprooting process, which should be noted on this 150th anniversary”.
“The fact remains that if a product like rum loses sight of its roots, it loses its human connotation, its feeling, the belief in the things that surrounded it at its birth and early development, and the ability to instill the values and conditions that came with it. Then it ceases to be what it was. I always like to insist on that point. The idea that the most outstanding aspect of this anniversary is having preserved all the links in the chain”, said Escalona.
“What was created in Santiago de Cuba, the things that made this rum's founders consider this great technological and cultural step forward, and create something better, is still there, intact. I should also add that 150 years after that illuminating moment, none of the master rum-makers left Cuba. This meant that they could pass on, from generation to generation, until today, what is most authentic about that historic experience and tradition, the most precious secrets of the transformation of former heavy rum to this light one that we still enjoy today”.
In creating the Havana Club International Association in 1993 with French company Pernod Ricard, the Cuba Ron Corporation produces the Havana Club, Santiago de Cuba, Caney, Cubay and Varadero brands, which are among the best and most-appreciated products of Cuba's rum catalogue. Cuba Ron also exports Legendario and Arecha rums, which are popular in Spain.
Aside from Havana Club rum exports, distributed by the Havana Club International joint venture, exports of the other brands mentioned number nearly a million cases per year. This figure should increase throughout 2012 and 2013, when new merchandising options, presently being reviewed, become effective.
Also coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the creation of light rum in Cuba is the release, by the corporation, of the 25-year-old and 12-year-old Santiago de Cuba Extra Añejo rums. With their special flavour and aroma, they constitute a multifaceted mix of the distinctive values of their originating spirit together with the attributes of Santiago's cellars and the vast master rum-makers experience.