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An Interview with Edgar M. Cullman Sr.

Chairman of the Culbro Corporation
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Bill Cosby, Autumn 94

(continued from page 7)

C.A.: When was the first milestone in the development and the success of the brand in the marketplace? At what time did you realize that this cigar brand was something extraordinary?

Cullman: To be very frank with you I don't know. We added a few sizes here, a few sizes there, and it took off. And it just never stopped. It kept growing and growing and growing. We continued to make it that way, and it has been the most rewarding experience in my life: the success of Macanudo.

C.A.: Even the name may have been a hindrance then--Macanudo--whereas today you take it for granted.

Cullman: In Spanish it means the greatest, the best, the most wonderful. It was very special.

C.A.: Is Macanudo a product success, a distribution success or a marketing success? It is without question the largest-selling premium cigar in the United States. What was it that made the difference that put Macanudo head and shoulders above the premium-cigar-brand crowd?

Cullman: Consistency. It is a most consistent product. It was always the same. We were very careful about the ingredients, the aging of it and not putting it in the market until we were sure it was right. There was a lot of quality control in Jamaica.

C.A.: Consistency is not easy to accomplish because a cigar is an agricultural product. Even though you may have a certain blend, nature is going to play tricks on you and is going to deliver you something that may not be the same from year to year. How do you maintain the taste?

Cullman: It is very expensive. You have to have enough tobacco so that you can always blend it. You never rely on any one crop. You have to be sure that you have enough crops so that you never notice any change in the blend. So each "crop" of cigars is full of many different crops.

C.A.: How many years of inventory of tobacco for Macanudo and Partagas do you hold today?

Cullman: That's very confidential.

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Comments   2 comment(s)

Ed Harvey — Auburn, WA, United States,  —  August 31, 2011 3:19am ET

Mr, Cullman you will be missed, and it would have been interesting to see, an updated interview, since things have changed quite a bit since this one was done, along with the loss of smoking rights, and the Cigar Industry in general...

Derek Wotton — Deltona , Florida ,  —  July 21, 2013 6:56pm ET

Wow a look into the past!

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