Normally, when I do a walking tour of a factory, I try to show nearly every step of the cigar-making process in a series of sequential pictures. And that’s precisely what I started to do at Tabacalera de Garcia in La Romana, the Dominican Republic, until my camera died. Well, more like the battery died. I know, rookie mistake, but this is a new camera and I had no idea how fast it ate up power. Plus, it waits until the last minute to tell you that you’re in danger of the battery dying. No matter. I can only blame the camera and the learning curve so much. It won’t happen again.
I got as far as one of the drying rooms at Tabacalera de Garcia, before my screen went black. That means that I have no shots of the rolling tables, aging room or packaging department. Nevertheless, I would still like to share some of these photos with you. They give some insight into the cigar-making process in an up close and personal way.
Tabacalera de Garcia is the largest factory in the Dominican Republic, and it celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. It makes more than 30 million handmade cigars each year, most of them Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo and H. Upmann.
I’ve heard some cynical cigar tourists say that if you’ve seen one cigar factory, you’ve seen them all. I disagree. Sure, there are some commonalities between factories, but every cigar-making facility, big or small, has a personality of its own.