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An Interview With Guillermo León

President, León Jimenes Cigars
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Chuck Norris, Jul/Aug 98

(continued from page 9)

León: Yes, it used to be called La Aurora. But people used the name for the cigar and for the factory where the cigar is made. According to our publicity and marketing people, this was creating confusion among consumers. So, we decided to change the brand name to just Aurora, and keep the factory named La Aurora.

CA: How many sizes are there in the Aurora brand?

León: We have more or less the same amount for Aurora as for León Jimenes, 13 sizes. We make all the traditional sizes and shapes.

CA: Are you going to introduce new shapes and sizes in '98?

León: If the market demands it, then we will be on top of everything that the market demands. If we were to launch a new brand, it would not be right now. We do have new brands in the planning. We even have a specific cigar that is the pride of Don Fernando León [Guillermo's father]. That is a cigar that is made specifically for him, and he gives it away as gifts. It is a cigar that is not commercially produced, but we expect to launch that cigar someday. For now, we don't think it's the right time. We also have anothernew project underway, but that we won't be bringing to market for a while. It will bring us back closer to our own tradition, the first sizes and shapes that we used to make at the original factory. But we don't think it is a good idea to launch a new brand right now, because the market is too confused at this time. There have been too many new brands in the last few years.

CA: Are the two brands you have doing well?

León: Yes. Things are going well. We've set some new objectives for León Jimenes in Europe. We are going to open up new markets there as well for Aurora. In 1997, we sold 1.7 million units total in Europe. In 1998, we expect more because we're opening more markets.

CA: Was the 1.7 million for both brands?

León: Basically that was for León Jimenes, but we have started distributing Aurora in Europe. We are very happy with work that has been developing in Europe. In America, we understand that there has been a slowdown in the retail market, and we understand that retailers are stocked up and are trying to move the cigars.

CA: Which is the largest market for León Jimenes outside the United States and the Dominican Republic?

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