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A Conversation with Angel Daniel Núñez

The man behind Macanudo cigars—and the Connecticut shade tobacco grown to wrap them.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Dennis Haysbert, Nov/Dec 2006

(continued from page 8)

A: And on top of that we bought Copata [a company in the Dominican Republic that grew tobacco], to meet our needs. That company, 100 percent of what it grew went to General Cigar, but we paid a management fee. In 2001, we bought it, brought in our technicians, and now we are growing to our specifications. We invested millions of dollars from 2001 to 2006 just in long filler in the Dominican Republic.

Q: That's a big investment to make.

A: Because we are looking to the future. I can assure you, in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, I was called the crazy guy in the industry. In Honduras and Nicaragua, I started in 2001 when long filler was being sold at $2 [a pound] and there was a huge amount in inventory. That's when we started new farms, new setups with Nestor Plasencia.

Q: That takes a lot of guts. Did you think the market would come back at that time?

A: My only thinking was to produce the best cigar. To do that, it's a simple thing. At the end of the day, all the improvements and big things in society have come after depression. Those who actually invest, put the money where it belongs, a few years later will be the ones who are happy. It's no time to roll back—those are the times to grow. You suffer a couple of years, make the changes, get the right people, train people.

Q: What's going on right now in the market? There are smoking bans everywhere, but despite the bans—

A: The business is strong. It's very strong. People are more knowledgeable, they're looking for better and better quality, and that has a lot to do with your company. [Cigar smokers are] more specific, they're more refined, and that's the time to provide something that has to be better, that has to be different.

Q: Where would General Cigar be had you not made those decisions?

A: I wouldn't want to think about it.

Q: You'd be short of tobacco?

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