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Diageo enters JV to market Cuban rum brand globally

British alcoholic beverage brewer Diageo PLC said Aug. 12 that its European arm has formed a joint venture with Corporación Cuba Ron SA to market Cuban rum Santiago de Cuba globally.

The venture will have exclusive global distribution rights to Santiago de Cuba, which will be joining Diageo Europe's portfolio of Reserve luxury spirits.

Diageo said the premium-plus rum segment in Europe is growing at 16%, ahead of luxury spirits at 9%.

The company will sell the second-largest-selling Cuban rum under its Reserve luxury spirits portfolio in Europe, "building on the trend towards premiumization and the cocktail culture which are driving growth in key cities and resorts across Europe."

Diageo said the rum will not be distributed in the U.S.

The announcement comes as the Trump administration is working to impose tighter sanctions on Cuba.

In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that the EU may launch a World Trade Organization case against the U.S. if it fully applies a law allowing U.S. nationals to lodge claims against foreign companies doing business in and with Cuba.