Cuban rums: A blend of preservation and innovation


By Daily Pérez Guillén

Cuban premium rums were the center of attention on the second day of the International Food, Beverages, Packaging and Food Technology Fair being held at Pabexpo in Havana.

The Cuba Ron SA Corporation highlighted the legacy of the island’s rum masters and stressed the importance of preserving their knowledge as intangible cultural heritage. Meanwhile, Havana Club Internacional showed how much can still be done following criteria of sustainability and innovation based on the brands that make up its renowned portfolio.

Melany Couso Esquivel, intellectual property specialist at Cuba Ron SA, spoke at the conference “Masters of Cuban rum: 160 years of history and knowledge” regarding the importance of safeguarding this heritage, which was recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2022, marking the first declaration made in Cuba linked to the agri-food sector.

“Such recognition contributes to a greater awareness of the added exceptional universal value of the declared element and of the community that protects and safeguards it,” the jurist emphasized, drawing attention to the need to ensure the spread of this knowledge “for the continuity and maintenance of the safeguarding of this element,”

On behalf of the Cuban Rum Masters Movement with all its members present, its leader, Juan Carlos González Delgado, offered a historical overview of sugar production, rum and the formation of nationality.

In the afternoon session at the Havana Club Internacional stand, a sustainable cocktail show took place with the Los Pichys Bartenders’ Group. Yuri Alfonso, Market Development and Marketing specialist, captivated the audience with the following data: “We have two million bars, if each one contributed with the recovery of one kilogram of fruit waste or coffee grounds, how much could we contribute to the improvement of the planet, to the non-emission of greenhouse gases, to the economy of the establishment,” while inviting those present to taste a cocktail prepared with citrus peel and a fermentation based on lemon juice and another made with coffee grounds (borra) also accompanied with chocolate and vanilla.

Shortly after, Damián Domínguez, Havana Club’s brand ambassador, starred in a proposal to pair HC Spiced with a dessert called Ambrosía Cubana designed by the entrepreneur Ruly, who also presented hams and sausages associated with Cuban rum.

“In this edition of the fair, Havana Club has brought as a proposal innovative products that were added to the portfolio a short time ago. They have distinctive characteristics from all the others in the range. As part of the innovative proposal, we added the collaboration of private enterprises that have introduced our products in their creations,” Domínguez explained.

On the subject, Amed Álvarez, the company’s Sales and Marketing director, told TTC that they are heavily committed to these innovations, which are already well known in the Cuban market and include HC Profundo, HC Cuban Smoky and HC Spiced. “Havana Club is taking on the task in the bartending world of promoting cocktails based on natural ingredients that can be mixed in a very attractive way with our rums. Participating at these events encourages us to establish strategic alliances with other companies in the non-state sector, such as charcuteries offering cold cuts and cheeses, and to create very attractive pairings that establish new ways of consuming cocktails made with Havana Club rums.”