An Interview with Christian Eiroa
The man behind Camacho, La Fontana and Baccarat cigars from Honduras.
From the Print Edition:
Emeril Lagasse, Sept/Oct 2005
Thirty-three-year-old Christian Eiroa is the heir apparent to the Camacho cigar brand. His family grows Cuban-seed tobacco in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras, where Eiroa was born, and makes 14 million Camacho, Baccarat and other cigars in a factory in Danlí called Tabacos Rancho Jamastran. Eiroa, a straight talker with a rebellious nature, leads the family's sales and marketing efforts in Miami as president of Caribe Imported Cigars Inc.
In June, senior editor David Savona met with Eiroa in Miami to discuss his reluctant entrance into the family business, his company's struggles to recover from production and inventory problems and his quest to bring Camacho Corojo back to the forefront of full-flavored smokes.
David Savona: Your father, Julio, is the patriarch of the company. When did you decide to get into the family business?
Christian Eiroa: I got my master's in '95. Then I was working for a friend of my father's in the finance business, and that company was sold. I never wanted to work for my father. June 28, 1995, I went there for what I thought was going to be six months.
Q: You went to Honduras?
A: Yeah, to be involved in production, the factory. I figured my father and I weren't going to get along very well. So what I ended up realizing was that something was happening in the business. One of the first arguments my father and I got into was trying to locate tobacco. He had the same two sources he always had, and we had our farms, but I then started looking.
Q: He was short on tobacco?
A: Everybody was. You couldn't get tobacco anywhere. So eventually we start finding tobacco, and then I realized that I liked it. Because there were things that he could do, and that I could do, and we didn't necessarily need to cross paths.
Q: Why didn't you want to work with your father?
A: Family businesses are always hard. It's never easy. And my brother tried to work with my father, and that didn't work out very well.
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