In 1878 the Arechabala family opened a distillery in Cardenas, Cuba which was later renamed Jose Arechabala S.A. It was this company whom created the brand Havana Club in 1934, and sold their rum under that name in both Cuba and the United States. After the Cuban revolution the company was nationalized by the Castro government whilst the Arechabala family left Cuba for Spain and the United States.
The Cuban government started selling rum abroad under the Havana Club name beginning in 1972, focusing primarily on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.The government focused on Havana Club because (unlike the Barcardi family) the Arechabala family had not established plants outside of Cuba and so could not produce a competing brand. The company was considered a “national jewel” by the Cuban government, and in 1977 manufacturing was moved to a new plant in Santa Cruz del Norte.
Since 1994, Cuban production and non-US global marketing of Havana Club has continued under a joint partnership between Pernod Ricard and Corporación Cuba Ron. In that very same year Bacardi began producing rum under the Havana Club name in Cataño, Puerto Rico using a recipe given to them by Arechabala family members. While originally sold in only a few states (primarily Florida), production was expanded in 2006, and in 2012, after winning a critical court battle, Bacardi announced plans to sell the rum more broadly.