Havana Club was founded in 1878 by José Arechabala. He had emigrated from Spain to Cuba in 1860. He started a rum company, La Vizcaya, and in 1921 the name was changed to José Arechabala S.A..He died two years later and his son-in-law took over. In 1959 the company was nationalized and the family moved to Spain. The government introduced the name Havana Club.
Havana Club is produced at two locations in Cuba, in Santa Cruz del Norte and in San Jose. In 1993 the Cuban government signed an agreement with Pernod Ricard.
The Cuban government continues to manage production but distribution and advertising is provided by Pernod Ricard. The latter sells the rum worldwide, with the exception of the United States.
The Bacardi company sells rum in the United States under the name Havana Club. They had bought the rights to this name and the recipe from the Arechabala family. The two beverage companies have conducted various legal cases with the question of who is the rightful owner of the rum and the brand name.