Carlos Fuente Jr. has become one of the most recognizable people in the cigar business. While at the helm of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., he has seen the company rise to one of the preeminent positions in the industry.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
John F. Kennedy, Nov/Dec 98
(continued from page 9)
CA: What is a Work of Art?
Fuente:A Work of Art is a cigar that is approximately five inches long, that starts with a complete point in the head and increases to a 56 ring gauge, like a pyramid or torpedo. It finishes off with a tuck similar to a Hemingway. It's a beautiful cigar. And very, very difficult to make.
CA: And when do you plan to release those?
Fuente:Those will be released this year.
CA: What will its price be?
Fuente:We haven't determined that yet. But one thing is certain: the price will be something that's very reasonable; I'm sure when people see the cigar, they're going to ask themselves why that cigar was introduced at that price.
CA: How many factories do you have today in the Dominican Republic, and does each factory produce a different brand, a different size?
Fuente:We started in 1980 with one factory. Actually, it wasn't a factory; it was an open space; it was just four walls and a roof. We started with seven employees and today most of them still work with us. But today we're making cigars in four factories. We have also built our own industrial duty-free zone [in the village of Palmar Abajo, in the town of Villa Gonzalez] which eventually will have another cigar factory running there. Today, we're using that free-zone factory for fermenting and aging tobacco, and also for selecting and grading the tobacco leaves.
CA: I remember my first visit to your factory in 1991, and you apologized about how you were just a little family cigarmaker, and then you took me on a tour. Two hours later [laughter], that simple little tour ended. How do you decide which brands and which sizes get produced at each factory?
Fuente:Each factory is designated to make certain brands. For example, Factory No. 1, where I spend most of my time, makes Arturo Fuente cigars, Hemingway, Fuente Fuente OpusX, Ashton Cabinets, Savinellis, Diamond Crown and a couple other brands. That's the oldest factory. That's in Santiago. Factory No. 2 is in Moca, which is a town that is approximately a 20-minute drive from Santiago. There, we manufacture most of the cigars for the Newman family: Cuesta-Rey, La Unica. My father wanted Factory No. 3 to be a model factory and he wanted to transfer Arturo Fuente cigars to Factory No. 3, but there's a certain nostalgia about Factory No. 1. That's where our office is. It's still the same small office.
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