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When Captain Henry Morgan sailed the Caribbean in the 17th century, rum was known as the drink of pirates. These days, a Caribbean fight over the home of the fabled pirate’s namesake drink has attracted the attention of Capitol Hill and a flotilla of high-powered K Street lobby shops.

Liquor giant Diageo PLC’s plan to move production of its popular Captain Morgan rum from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands prompted Puerto Rico to go on the offensive in Washington, via legislation that would limit subsidies to rum producers. In recent weeks, both sides have brought on new lobbyists, and the campaign has picked up speed.

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