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Interview: Frank Llaneza of Villazon

A discussion with the president of Villazon & Co., makers of Hoyo de Monterrey and Punch.
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
John Travolta, Jan/Feb 99

(continued from page 14)

CA: Yes, just like that.

Llaneza: It's from Nicaragua.

CA: I'll ask you about that wrapper in a minute. But in 1980-'81, the cigar that you had developed and evolved for 15 years, you had to change. How did the market react to that?

Llaneza: Well, I think, it was amazing how favorably they reacted. Because we didn't give them such a drastic change. It was sun-grown Sumatran tobacco that had some taste to it. I don't think people really reacted negatively at all. Some really refined smokers would say, hey, they changed the wrapper. But it was absorbed into the marketplace, and we sold many more cigars after we went from the Cuban-seed to the Sumatra. If that tells you something, it's because of the cigar's combustion. If the combustion is good and it tastes good, people will smoke a cigar and enjoy it.

CA: How many cigars total are you making today?

Llaneza: We are making about 125,000 cigars a day, all handmade in Honduras, in Cofradia and Danlí.

CA: So that works out to 30 million to 40 million a year.

Llaneza: Yeah, 32 or 33 million a year.

CA: Does that include the production for Lew Rothman at J.R. Tobacco?

Llaneza: Yes.

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