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An Interview with Christian Eiroa

The man behind Camacho, La Fontana and Baccarat cigars from Honduras.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Emeril Lagasse, Sept/Oct 2005

(continued from page 4)

A: When you grow up in these Latin countries and you have some means, you become somewhat of an untouchable. So eventually one of my friends got in trouble, real bad trouble.

Q: When did you start selling cigars?

A: I moved to Miami in '98. It was a terrible year for us. We had the bank notes, the business was cut almost in half. We had a huge drop. But of course, when you have tobacco in the fields, when you have everything going, you can't just shut off a switch. On top of that we had union problems.

Q: In Honduras? The factory was unionized?

A: Yeah, it was terrible. The union gave us a hard time and they locked us out of our own factory in '98.

Q: What was keeping the company going?

A: Baccarat. Baccarat is huge. It's still our No. 1 seller. In 1998, the business didn't die. I hit the road. I think I was on the road 40 weeks.

Q: Is that the first time you started selling?

A: Yeah. I didn't know how to sell. Sal hated me -- a young kid, cocky, coming in. Sal wrote a letter of resignation and everything, but he didn't do it. [Sal Fontana and Eiroa are now an unlikely pair that bicker in comedic style. Eiroa refers to the 80-year-old Fontana as his consigliere.] It was a terrible year. I got ulcers and everything. I hated the road.

Q: How old were you at this point?

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