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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 4)

A: When the liquor people went to the tobacco stores, they said, "We don't want UST." They closed the door to those people.

Q: Who did?

A: A lot of tobacconists. Not all of them, but a lot of them. So [UST] lost the feeling for the business. But they lost everything—they lost all the cigars, the investment in humidors, millions of dollars. Because they couldn't sell it. You can't take time from a liquor salesman to sell cigars. You need more time. In the liquor business, we say, "How many cases do you want?" It's different.

Q: When you got that initial phone call telling you about the change, did you have any more Don Linos coming?

A: Nothing. Nothing.

Q: So you had nothing in the warehouse?

A: Just a few boxes of León Jimenes, which were gone the next day. And tobacconists were getting mad.

Q: What did you say?

A: They couldn't believe I didn't have cigars. They thought I was selling the cigars to someone else.

Q: So everyone thought you were holding back. How many phone calls were you getting?

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