Pernod sues Matusalem over 'Cuban' rum.French drinks giant Pernod Ricard Pernod Ricard (Euronext: RI) is a French company producing alcoholic beverages. Their most famous product, Pernod Anise (40% alcoholic volume) and Ricard Pastis, are both pastis, and often referred to as simply Ricard or Pernod. , which has long battled the Bacardi empire in court over use of the "Havana Club This article is about a rum made in Cuba. For the rum of the same name made by Bacardi in Puerto Rico and sold in the United States only, see Havana Club (Bacardi).
Havana Club is a brand of rum, made in Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. " trademark, is now taking on another legal battle.
This one is against Matusalem, a Miami-based company that sells "Cuban" rum.
The Economist, in its Apr. 16 edition, says Pernod Ricard claims in its suit that Havana Club is "the only authentically Cuban spirit." The company is seeking damages from Matusalem for "falsely" claiming Cuban origin.
"Like all disputes involving Cuba, this one is steeped in politics and history," writes the magazine. "A company named Matusalem was founded in Santiago de Cuba Santiago de Cuba (säntyä`gō thā k`bä), city (1994 est. pop. 385,800), capital of Santiago de Cuba prov., SE Cuba. in 1873. It produced Cuba's top anejo, or aged dark rum.
The Alvarez family fled Cuba after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. They started making rum in the Bahamas using the formula smuggled smug·gle
v. smug·gled, smug·gling, smug·gles
1. To import or export without paying lawful customs charges or duties.
2. To bring in or take out illicitly or by stealth. out of Cuba, but struggled to build the brand globally. Meanwhile, Cuba began making its own version of the Matusalem brand.
Alvarez eventually shifted production to the Dominican Republic Dominican Republic (dəmĭn`ĭkən), republic (2005 est. pop. 8,950,000), 18,700 sq mi (48,442 sq km), West Indies, on the eastern two thirds of the island of Hispaniola. The capital and largest city is Santo Domingo. and relaunched the brand. It now produces almost two million bottles a year; its Gran Reserva, a 15-year aged dark rum, has proved a hit with connoisseurs in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.
"That may be what has alarmed Pernod," says The Economist, noting that last year it persuaded the U.S. Patent Office to throw out a trademark challenge brought by Bacardi, a spirits firm now based in Bermuda and the maker of the world's biggest-selling rum.
Rather than its trademark rights, Pernod contests Matusalem's slogan, "The Spirit of Cuba," emblazoned across the bottle. The fine print explains that the product is made in the Dominican Republic.
Says the magazine: "Nobody can dispute Matusalem's Cuban past. But given the store that French winemakers set by terroir Terroir (/tεʀwaʀ/ in French) was originally a French term in wine and coffee used to denote the special characteristics that geography bestowed upon them. , the country's courts may well decide that only Cuba can make Cuban rum."