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An Interview with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo

Owner, El Credito Cigar Co., makers of La Gloria Cubana, La Hoja Selecta, El Rico Habano and Dos Gonzales cigars.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
James Woods, May/Jun 97

(continued from page 27)

Carrillo: We're looking into different places, a cigar box company opening up in the Pisano free trade zone, called Mantis. There are three other people that want to start up box companies this year. Hopefully, we'll be able to get a lot more boxes. That's a big problem right now in the industry.

CA: What about boxes in Miami?

Carrillo: First of all, they only make wood boxes at a very high cost. They're expensive. What I want to do next year is change all La Gloria Cubana, El Rico Habano and La Hoja Selecta to a colored box. I found they're easier to make. I like them better; they're prettier with the colors and stuff. And they're not as expensive as the cedar boxes.I think there's going to be a problem with cedar down the road. So much now is being used to make cigar boxes, there's going to be a problem with shortages.

CA: Are there any problem areas other than the boxes at this point? Is shipping a problem?

Carrillo: Cellophane is becoming a problem now because of the demand. Cigar molds are also a problem. We have now about 20 people that should have started working with us about a month ago and we're still waiting because we don't have enough molds or presses. The thing in the Dominican Republic is that people are just going haywire and they can't keep up with the demand for anything.

CA: When do you see the cigar boom slowing down to a more normal growth rate than the staggering numbers that we're experiencing today?

Carrillo: I think that the only thing that will slow it down, and I think it is very important for the tobacco growers to be aware of this, is the pricing factor. Unfortunately, we've come into a situation that is unique. I think the only thing that will stop this boom is the prices of cigars. I mean, really, people can't afford to pay 10, 12, 15 dollars for a cigar.

CA: How much is your most expensive cigar?

Carrillo: Six dollars.

CA: What size it is?

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