Luca Cesarano, director of the joint venture between British beverage giant Diageo and the state-run Cuba Ron, speaks during an event to market Santiago de Cuba rum, in Havana, Cuba August 12, 2019 (Photo: REUTERS).

BRITISH drinks giant Diageo has announced the creation of a joint venture, Ron Santiago SA, between a European Diageo subsidiary and Corporación Cuba Ron SA, a leader in the production of premium Cuban rums on Monday (12).

The Diageo subsidiary and state company Cuba Ron will be equal partners in Santiago SA.

The joint venture will have exclusive global distribution rights to Santiago de CubaTM, a premium Cuban heritage rum brand.

Globally, premium and above rum segments are growing ahead of the category overall, with premiumisation trends driving growth.

Over the past four years, premium and above rum retail sales value has grown 12 per cent, whilst overall category growth was three per cent.

Cuban rum brands account for nine per cent of the retail sales value of this growing segment globally.

The premium plus rum segment in Europe, the key market for the development of the Santiago de CubaTM brand, is growing at 16 per cent, ahead of luxury spirits, at nine per cent.

Santiago de CubaTM will join Diageo Europe’s portfolio of Reserve luxury spirits, building on the trend towards premiumisation and the cocktail culture which are driving growth in key cities and resorts across Europe.

With four core variants (Carta Blanca, Anejo, 11-year old and 12-year old) Santiago de CubaTM is the second largest premium Cuban rum, renowned for its high quality and provenance in the traditional rum distilling region of Cuba.

Dayalan Nayager, Managing Director, Diageo GB, Ireland and France, said: “The joint venture with Corporación Cuba Ron is in keeping with our strategy to invest behind growth opportunities in premium and above brands.

“Consumers are looking for new and authentic experiences and working with Corporación Cuba Ron provides a great opportunity to expand our portfolio in segments of the rum category whose growth is being driven by premiumisation globally and in Europe.”