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Havana Club boss: Rum needs ‘clearer rules’

The CEO of Pernod Ricard-owned Havana Club has called for “basic quality rules” in rum to create a “more harmonious” industry.

Christian Barré believes rums of different origins should adhere to specific rules and regulations

Speaking to The Spirits Business last month, Christian Barré, who was appointed Havana Club CEO in 2017, expressed his support for new EU regulations that limit the amount of sugar that can be added to rum.

In addition to “special legislation”, such as those of the EU, each rum-making region should “make sure it has a clear set of rules”, he said.

“It would help the category in the future if there were some clearer rules and regulations, like in whisky and Cognac. We need to innovate but in well-defined framework to guarantee consumers that when you innovate with super-aged rums you still deliver quality.”

Increasing discussions around transparency in rum are leading to the creation of a “more harmonious” sector, which is in its “early stages”, the CEO added.

“In the rum market, we should push to make sure transparency for consumers is key. At the end of the day, consumers are not fools; they can understand the difference between a good quality product and one that is commercial. We need basic quality rules.”

Barré confirmed that “flavours are of interest” to Havana Club when it comes to innovation, and that “it’s going to be an interesting year” for new releases from the brand.

Earlier this year, the rum released its 2019 Tributo bottling, a blend that includes rum aged in Cognac casks, while October saw the launch of the Havana Club Professional Edition series.

To read Barré’s full interview, see the June issue of The Spirits Business, out now.

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