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A Conversation with Nestor Miranda

The founder of Miami Cigar & Co. talks about the rise, fall and rebirth of his Don Lino brand.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
David Caruso, Jan/Feb 2007

(continued from page 2)

A: In 1994 we did 1.5 million [units], 1995 we did 3.1 million. In 1996, I calculated that I thought we would do probably 7 million to 9 million cigars. But I've never been too good at mathematics, so it was 12 million.

Q: So you picked up distribution of Don Tomás and Astral from UST, and you also began distributing La Aurora and León Jimenes? You soared to 12 million cigars?

A: That's right. It was the American dream.

Q: And of those 12 million, most were made by UST?

A: I'd say 75 percent of them were made by UST.

Q: Beyond your wildest dreams—great year.

A: We did 12 million cigars until the first week of November [1996]. We didn't finish the year. Why? Because in November, the great UST company decided to go on their own, and they called me and they canceled my contract, which ended in February 1997. They canceled everything. They stopped shipping merchandise.

Q: What about Don Lino?

A: They stopped shipping. They were making Don Lino. Don Lino was back-ordered about 3.5 million cigars, and they told me they needed [the production capacity] to make more Astral and Don Tomás and all that.

Q: This is November, this is before the holiday rush.

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