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Richard L. DiMeola

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Cigar Corporation
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 19)

CA: But Te-Amo is their only consumer brand?

DiMeola: That's correct.

CA: What is the situation with the cigars that are produced by you in Honduras?

DiMeola: The purpose of the factory originally, before we owned it, was to utilize Mexican tobacco, and we are continuing to use Mexican tobacco heavily. We also have introduced a Connecticut-wrapped brand, Las Cabrillas. We also have introduced other tobaccos for blending purposes there, from Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, as well as from some other countries.

CA: But the main brand there is Las Cabrillas?

DiMeola: Yes. The primary production there is still bundles and private labels.

CA: Which brings me to one of the great success stories in the cigar business--bundles. Very little is known about the world of bundles. There are a lot of people who buy bundles believing that they are getting the same cigar as some major brands, but at half the price. Can you give us the background on bundles and exactly what kinds of cigars are used?

DiMeola: I can't speak for the other companies. In our company, we originally produced bundles from our seconds, the rejects. We would accumulate rejected cigars, which were rejected for one reason or another after they were made--usually a tear in the wrapper, maybe too much vein or for whatever reason. And we then packed them up in bundles and sold them off.

CA: I assume they were no-name brands?

DiMeola: That's correct. So therefore, the consumer was getting an H. Upmann or a Don Diego or any of our brands in a bundle.

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