Bottling plant at the Havana Club Internacional S.A factory, in San José de las Lajas, in the province of Mayabeque. Photo: ACN

Cuba's dark rum factory, located in the municipality of San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque province, is undertaking new investments to expand its plant and thus increase production of Havana Club Internacional S.A. (HCI) rums, present in over 120 countries.

Yaima del Pilar Rodríguez, communications specialist at this modern industrial complex, inaugurated in 2007, explained that in order to expand the rum aging capacity, construction works are concluding on a seventh warehouse at the site, with another underway.

Medium and long term investments are also planned to incorporate a third bottling assembly line at the plant, and to expand storage areas for raw materials and finished products.

The factory today has a semi-automatic bottling plant, and another using modern technology for the bottling of ultra Premium rums, which can process an average of 10-12,000 bottles per hour, the specialist noted.

According to Rodríguez, from 2007-2016, this rum factory produced over 12 million nine-liter cases, valued at 633 million convertible pesos (CUC).

She highlighted that the facility maintains up to date international certified quality, hygiene, environment management, health and safety standards, among other norms relating to this type of industry, producing top quality dark rums.

Rodríguez recalled that the base materials to create the different Havana Club rums are obtained through an aging process of sugarcane liquor, stored in American white oak barrels for two years, which were once used to produce exclusive whiskeys.

Barrel warehouse A1 at the Havana Club Internacional S.A factory, in San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque province. Photo: ACN

Created in 1993, as a joint enterprise of the CubaRon Corporation and the French group Pernod Ricard, HCI sold more that four million nine-liter cases last year, 52 million of which were distributed on the domestic market, providing revenue of 170 million CUC.

With growth stemming from Cuba’s tourist boom, domestic sales account for 28% of Havana Club sales, while a further 57% are sales to European countries such as Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

Due to the restrictions of the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on the island, HCI is unable to trade with the United States, a market that consumes 40% of global spirits.