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Richard L. DiMeola

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Cigar Corporation
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 4)

They agreed finally, and we came in with the Dunhill cigar for them. Then in 1986, Theo engineered the purchase of the American Cigar Co. That's when--in addition to Antonio y Cleopatra, which was the biggest brand--we also acquired the rights to the old Cuban trademarks that they owned. American Tobacco Co. had a subsidiary in Cuba prior to the embargo, called Tabacalera Cubana, that made La Coronas, Cabanas, La Meridiana and Santa Damiana. At the same time, they were also making La Corona Clear Havana in Trenton, New Jersey. They still held those trademarks, so that's when we got the rights to those brands, and some other clear Havana brands as well, such as Henry Clay.

CA: What does clear Havana mean?

DiMeola: It means made in the United States of Cuban tobacco.

CA: So, it's an American-made, 100 percent Cuban tobacco product?

DiMeola: Yes.

CA: How big was the U.S. market in the years prior to the Cuban embargo?

DiMeola: The total U.S. market for premium cigars [prior to 1962] averaged 185 million. Of the total premium cigar market, about 14.6 million were Cuban cigars, or about 8 percent. And the rest were all clear Havana.

CA: Where were the bulk of the cigars manufactured?

DiMeola: There were cigars made in Tampa, Trenton, Miami, Key West and Pennsylvania, using 100 percent Havana tobacco. Those were the ones designated clear Havana cigars, and they comprised the bulk of the U.S. market.

CA: That means that all 185 million cigars used Cuban tobacco?

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