Apr 22, 2014

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The Checkered History Of Arturo Fuente Cigars

With the annual cigar production from its facilities in the Dominican Republic now exceeding 30 million pieces; the enterprise of A. Fuente & Co can be viewed as one of the leading non-Cuban producers of premium, hand rolled, premium cigars. However, their fortunes have not always been so good.

A Short Lived Start

The company was founded in 1912 by a Cuban immigrant called Arturo Fuente, who had come to the USA in 1902, to escape effects of the Spanish-American War. The area around Tampa in Florida had seen an influx of cigar making due to the ease with which Cuban tobacco could be transported there and the first Arturo Fuente Cigars were made in West Tampa. However, after only 12 years a catastrophic fire at the factory put the brand out of production for 22 years.

A Long Wait For Resurrection

The company remained in the family and, in 1946; with the ending of The Great Depression and World War Two; they decided to return to cigar making from the 160 square foot back porch of their home in nearby Ybor City. Arturo and his wife rolled the cigars themselves with help from their two sons – Carlos and Arturo Jr. Somehow the business survived but it was strictly a local “cash and carry” brand throughout the 1950’s.

Come The Revolution

Castro’s revolution in Cuba and consequent American trade embargoes from 1960 onwards had a dramatic effect on the cigar industry. Being unable to import the Cuban tobacco for their Arturo Fuente Cigars and, with rising costs and skilled cigar rollers in short supply; the family looked overseas.

There were some mistaken starts before they established themselves in Nicaragua in the 1970’s; but, disaster struck them again when the entire factory was burnt down during the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1979. Although finances were desperate; they managed to relocate to the Dominican Republic and set up production of Arturo Fuente Cigars in 1980 under the name of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. By the end of the 80’s they were growing their own tobacco and the rest is, as they say, history. The premium brand of Arturo Fuente Cigars is known as Fuente Fuente OpusX and it is widely held to be amongst the very best cigars in the world.


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