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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 8)

A: I can't say.

Q: OK, so you got less than $42.5 million. When was it all over?

A: In 2002.

Q: So you got some money in 2002. But you also sued Southern Wine. You must have felt odd about that.

A: It was very, very hard for me to do that, even though they pulled the line for me. I respect, so much, the owners of Southern Wine. And I had been with them for 15 years. To me, it was hard to believe that things like this can happen. I'm just a little guy. But that's water under the bridge.

Q: You have other cigars besides Don Lino now. Can you talk about them?

A: In 1996 I was interviewed by your magazine. My daughter was in Gainesville, [Florida, at college]. I saw my picture with my wife and my son [Daniel], which was very nice. My daughter saw that picture at the university and said, "Oh, my God." And then she called me, and said, "Dad, how can you forget about me?" I did not forget about her. I said, "Tatiana, I feel so bad." I had to come out with something. And I said, "I'm going to come out with a cigar called Tatiana." I sent her a letter with a band, and it was a flavored cigar. So I started making and selling a few boxes, but then they started selling. Then I came out with the canister, the mini. I was flying to Los Angeles, and I wanted to come out with a little cigar. Having been in the liquor business, I knew I had to come out with something small, for the counter. So we made miniature cigars—the cigar was unbelievably horrible, but it smelled good. They had no boxes. They came with rubber bands. It was horrible.

Q: Did it sell?

A: It sold. Look at what we have today. It is unbelievable. Then we created gorgeous boxes—we got the second prize in Europe for the design of the Dolce. This becomes a big brand. So Tatiana was born. And I am more than happy to see the success of Tatiana.

Q: Does it make your daughter happy?

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