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.
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Carrillo: It's the pyramid, a large torpedo.
CA: What is your largest size of La Gloria in terms of volume?
Carrillo: The Wavell.
CA: What does that sell for today?
Carrillo: $80 a box retail.
CA: In the Dominican Republic, what is your largest selling cigar size?
Carrillo: Everything we make in the Dominican Republic is for the United States, so it would be the Churchill. We also sell a lot of the Charlemagne and the torpedo. We have 10 people making torpedos in the Dominican Republic.
CA: Do you make many maduro cigars?
Carrillo: No. We're going to start this in '97.
CA: In the Dominican Republic?
Carrillo: Right. In Miami, we'll [someday make] make maduro; in the Dominican it's gonna be in 1997. Everybody knows maduro wrapper is going to get very, very expensive. And hard to get.
CA: When you think about the cigar market and the future of your company, what thoughts go through your mind?
Carrillo: I don't think it's a boom anymore, I think it's an industry, an industry just on a growth surge. But it won't be if we keep making the mistakes which are being made now, overcharging for cigars and this type of stuff. I think all manufacturers are trying to make the best quality cigar possible. And I think that this cigar fever can last for a long time, if we just control what is happening. We can't let it get out of hand and look short-term, or this is going to die in five years or 10 years. But it will never die unless the industry itself kills it.
CA: What is your attitude towards the explosion of new cigar brands entering the market, hundreds of new brands that didn't exist three years ago? What impact will they have on the market?
Carrillo: All of these brands are making it hard to get as much tobacco as you want. I think as long as we're here for the long-term, we won't have any problems. I can't see anybody coming in for the short term just to make a profit. Cigar making is something that you have to do because you love doing it, not because you make money. And if you look at it in the short term, you're not going to last. Competition is great because it keeps everybody on their toes. The only problem is, of course, the lack of tobacco, lack of workers, that type of thing. But I don't have any problem with new brands. I mean, as long as they are in it for the long term and don't want to mess around with me, I have no problem with any of the new brands coming into the market.
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