Bacardi recently produced a 'Sleep no More'-like live experience recreating 1950s Cuba — take an exclusive look inside

By: Tanya Dua / April, 7, 2018

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Liquor giants Bacardi and Pernod Ricard have been locked in a decades-long legal battle over who owns the rights to rum brand Havana Club— and Bacardi has decided to take the fight to a new stage. Literally.

Bacardi has launched a marketing charm offensive to court the public, by creating a live theatrical experience that tells the story of the Cuban family who first created the famous rum.

"Amparo" takes the audience on a journey back in time to pre-revolutionary Cuba of the 1950s, chronicling the journey of the Arechabala family (who first distilled the rum in 1934) to the United States after the confiscation of their company by the communist government.

"Our core objective was to spread the word about our story and make sure consumers understand that we're the authentic Havana Club," said Roberto Ramirez, rums marketing director at Bacardi. "And the best way to tell a story is through characters, and letting people experience it for themselves."

By bringing the Arechabala family's story to life, Bacardi trying stake its claim to the US market for the Havana Club it sells, made with the original recipe that it purchased from the family in 1994.

Pernod Ricard too sells a version of Havana Club, since it joined hands with the Cuban company Cuba Ron in 1993, which continued to sell the rum after the Arechabala family escaped the country. It claims that its version is the authentic one as it is distilled in Cuba with Cuban ingredients, and also owns the brand trademark.

The immersive experience — replete with heritage, drama, live music and bespoke cocktails — first premiered in Miami, and made its way to New York City at Bill's Townhouse this week. Bacardi wants to also take the experiential marketing push to other audiences and cities later this year to continue spreading the word.

I had a chance to attend a show for Business Insider. Here's what it was like.

About Vanessa Garcia

Vanessa Garcia is a writer and mulit-media artist
(www.vanessagarcia.org).