The design of the famous Havana Club Máximo Extra Añejo has just changed. We asked Anne Martin, Global Marketing Director for Havana Club, to take us behind the scenes, to tell us more about its history and the brand’s commitment to sustainable development.
The packaging has changed for Máximo Extra Añejo but is this also the case for rum?
Whilst we have unveiled a striking new look for our luxury expression, Havana Club Máximo Extra Añejo, of which 1 000 bottles are released annually, the award-winning liquid remains unchanged.
Originally crafted by the late Don José Navarro – our first Primer Maestro del Ron Cubano – the liquid is the ultimate expression of Cuban rum. Today, our four resident Maestros, the Cuban Rum Masters, along one Aspirante – our Maestro-in-training- continue his legacy by selecting the oldest and finest rum reserves to blend together in one magnificent liquid.
Intense yet balanced, there will never be a rum that better expresses Cuba and its rich traditions. The liquid delivers a rich yet delicate aroma that balances oak and smoky notes with subtle tones of fresh pear, coconut, and dried fruit. It sits proudly as a true liquid masterpiece in Havana Club’s Iconica Collection, hailed as one of the most exceptional rums in the world by connoisseurs and experts alike.
What are the changes made on the Máximo bottle and packaging?
The revamped design aims to showcase the expression’s unrivalled quality through a striking new bottle design and packaging. The new design on the bottle offers a modern twist on the distinguished crystal decanter, adding a crystal stopper – carefully stowed in a drawer – to make this even more distinct. We’ve also opted to have the stopper engraved with the emblem of Havana, the Giraldilla, in contrasting gold exemplifying the very best of Cuban rum that will be recognised across the world. The updated packaging also pays tribute to the alliance of traditional rum making by incorporating a sustainable yet modern packaging format, made from certified wood byproducts.
How will this reduce the ecological footprint of the brand?
In response to growing consumer interest for more sustainable packaging formats, we have made a range of updates to the design aligning traditional rum making and modern packaging.
The box protecting this exquisite bottle is made from certified wood by-products and boasts an 89% reduction of plastic components – equating to less than 1,2% of the total components of the pack. Plus, the overall decrease of 20% of the number of components of the pack also contributes to offering a more sustainable option to rum collectors.
More generally, what are the brand’s objectives in terms of sustainable development?
Our terroir is our home, where our rum was born and is still made to this day, which is why sustainability and responsibility are increasingly important factors of our business. In line with Pernod Ricard’s 2030 Corporate Social Responsibility Roadmap, we are dedicated to safeguarding Cuba’s natural resources and investing in the future of the country’s environment and its people; from the sugarcane fields all the way to how our liquid makes its way to the glass.
We’re incredibly proud that Havana Club’s sustainable initiatives were recognised by the European Excellence Awards this year. This includes our work eliminating the use of fossil fuels to power operations at our state-of-the-art distillery and successfully repurposing our vinasses – the by-product we are left with atter distilling sugarcane – into animal feed to distribute to more than 2,000 local farmers.
“We’re also introducing a fleet of electric vehicles for employees and the installation of 2,280 units of solar panels to generate 45% of all our on-site daylight electricity requirements. More solar panels will gradually be installed across the site by the end of 2023, generating 100% of the distillery’s daylight electricity needs by 2024, and saving 1 800 tons of CO2.
Beyond our revamped, more sustainable design for Máximo, we are focused on minimising the ecological footprint of our wider award-winning portfolio by reducing the weight of glass bottle in a move that it estimates will save 2.2K tons of CO2 per year. Bottles of the iconic Havana Club Original – Añejo 3 Años, Havana Club 7 Años and Havana Club Añejo Especial now feature a thinner glass repartition in the bottle mould, reducing its weight by up to 16%.
These are just some examples of how sustainable development has been and always will be at the heart of Havana Club’s DNA.
Is respect for sustainable development a purchasing criterion for the brand’s fans?
Absolutely. Over the past few year’s consumers have become increasingly conscious of their environmental impact which, in turn, affects their purchasing habits. Meaning, now more than ever, there is a responsibility for us to ensure that our products are created sustainably.
From reducing the weight of our glass bottles to eliminating our use of fossil fuels across the island, we’re consistently keeping sustainable development front of mind across each level of the business process.
In addition to seeking out sustainable brands, today’s premium spirit drinkers place a growing emphasis on origin, provenance and heritage as consumers want to be assured that they are purchasing a sophisticated product they can trust to deliver a high-quality experience each and every time.
Holding a Protected Designation of Origin for Cuba alongside our rich history means Havana Club perfectly placed to meet these demands. Our purpose is to celebrate the inimitable values and spirit of Cuba all around the world, thanks to the tradition and unique expertise of the Maestros del Ron Cubano.
In fact, in December 2022 we celebrated the unprecedented achievement of our Maestros, whose know-how has been officially recognised by UNESCO as World Intangible Heritage, to safeguard it for future generations and pursue the legacy of Cuban rum.
The commitment and dedication shown by generations of Maestros has led to this point where the knowledge and expertise is recognised not only through the popularity of Cuban rum but also through this special accolade. It recognises how the art of rum making on the island embodies a unique culture shaped by people, climate, geography, and history – all of which is captured in every single bottle of Havana Club.
 Havana Club Maximo won a gold medal at the 2021 ISC, and most recently a Master medal at the 2023 Rum Masters
 Havana Club Original – Añejo 3 Años – Category Winner, World Rum Awards 2023