Tobacco grower and cigarmaker A.J. Fernandez has agreed to acquire Sosa Cigars. Previously made by the Fuente family in the Dominican Republic for many years, Sosa cigars will now be made in Nicaragua and distributed by A.J. Fernandez, according to the company. The Sosa cigar portfolio was previously owned by Sosa Cigars, also known as Antillian Cigar Corp.
"This is only a purchase of the brands owned by the Sosa family," Celina Contreras Sosa, a lawyer for Sosa Cigars, told Cigar Aficionado. "There are still remaining business dealings that will keep Antillian Cigar Corporation a viable corporation for the time being, although we are considering a name change. So keep watch come January 2017."
The acquisition includes all of the Sosa family brands, including Sosa Classic, Imperio Cubano and Santa Julia. Many of the Sosa cigar brands were manufactured at Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. in the Dominican Republic, while some were rolled in the United States.
According to Arby Sosa, Santa Julia was made at La Vega Cubana in Clearwater, Florida. Sosa Classic, Sosa Super Selection, Sosa Half Century, Imperio Cubano and Sosa 50th Anniversary were all made at Fuente Factory Plant Number 4 by Arby's father, Juan Sosa, who has been with Fuente since 1997.
"I met Mr. Juan Sosa many years ago, and I always admired his cigar making skills and his longtime presence in the cigar industry," A.J. Fernandez said in a statement regarding the acquisition. "I was recently introduced to his son Arby, and for the last few months we discussed the possibility of my family acquiring the Sosa family brands. Well, after many meetings, many cups of Cuban coffee and, of course, many cigars, we reached an agreement where both families will mutually benefit from this acquisition. My father, Ismael, and I are excited to take the Sosa name to new levels."
Celina Contreras Sosa confirmed that Sosa cigar production at the Fuente factory has already ended, and the Clearwater, Florida factory will cease Sosa production shortly.
"Sosa production at Fuente stopped this week. La Vega [production] will stop next week," she said.
Though Contreras Sosa said the Sosa cigar blends will remain the same under the new ownership, she notes that they will be rolled with tobaccos and techniques unique to A.J. Fernandez.
"While the blends will remain the same, they will be made using the techniques and curing processes mastered by A.J. Fernandez as well as his own grown tobacco made with his special knowledge," she said.
According to Frankie Santos, director of marketing for A.J. Fernandez, the company will begin production of Sosa brands at Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua, in Estelí, Nicaragua "very soon." Santos, though, did not offer an exact date, and pricing for the Sosa brands has not yet been established.
Fernandez has been expanding rapidly. Earlier this month, he opened an additional factory in Ocatál named San Lotano and announced Espinosa Cigars as a new client, agreeing to produce Espinosa's 601 cigar brands.