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What the New US Policy on Cuban Rum Really Means

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As of today, you can buy all the Cuban rum and cigars you want—just not in the U.S. The internet went a little crazy after President Obama announced relaxed regulations on Cuban booze on Friday. The slow defrosting of chilly relations with the island nation is certainly good news for rum drinkers, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The new policy means you can buy as much Cuban rum in Cuba as you want and bring it back under normal U.S. import duties, but no one in America is allowed to import Cuban liquor for sale quite yet.

Previously, tourists could only bring back $100 in Cuban rum and cigars. Obama’s new regulations did away with that ceiling, allowing thirsty visitors to bring back as much Cuban-made rum as they wish. While that’s great news for those buying expensive souvenirs like the Havana Club Gran Reserva 15 Años, which retails for about $150, the old $100 limitation wasn’t much of a problem for the average shopper as most bottles go for about $3-15 anyway.

Clarifications aside, the announcement is still incredibly exciting for rum aficionados and—let’s not forget—all of the Cuban citizens who will have increased access to American goods and improved infrastructure.

As Eater points out, Cuban coffee reached American shores in the form of Nespresso pods. Let’s just hope that commercial Cuban rum arrives in full bottles (and soon). We’re running low on Cuba Libre supplies.

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