EXCLUSIVE: Fuentes To Rejoin ProCigar

The Fuentes are coming back to ProCigar.

Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., the makers of Arturo Fuente, Fuente Fuente OpusX, Ashton and many other prominent cigar brands, is rejoining ProCigar, the association of cigarmakers in the Dominican Republic. Fuente left the organization in 1995 after a labor dispute with other companies in the organization.

Carlos Fuente Jr., president of Fuente, met with ProCigar president Hendrik “Henke” Kelner (the maker of Davidoffs) on Friday night at a charity cigar event in Santo Domingo. At that event, Fuente told Kelner his company would return to ProCigar.

“We have to have a fresh start to unite the industry,” Fuente said in an interview with Cigar Aficionado. “I’d like for the new generation not to make the same mistakes the old guard did,” he said.

“I am very happy with this news,” said Kelner to Cigar Aficionado. When Fuente told him he was coming back to ProCigar, Kelner responded by saying “Carlito, you were one of the founders—you are a member of ProCigar.”

Kelner said he would meet with the rest of the members of ProCigar on Tuesday. When asked if there needed to be a vote or meeting to formalize Fuente’s return to the organization, Kelner said no.

Carlos Fuente Jr.
Carlito Fuente, owner of Fuente Cigars.

Fuente was a founding member of ProCigar, which was created in the early 1990s during the beginnings of the cigar boom. The association was meant to create a unified force among Dominican cigar producers, as at the time the Dominican Republic was struggling to produce enough cigars to meet the demand of the booming U.S. market.

The other members of ProCigar are: General Cigar Dominicana (Macanudo, La Gloria Cubana); Tabacalera de Garcia Ltd. (Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta); MATASA (Fonseca, Quesada); La Aurora S.A. (Guillermo León, Leon Jimenes); Tabadom Holding (Davidoff, Avo); Tabaquisa S.A. (Juan Clemente) and Corporacion Cigar Export (Augusto Reyes, Fittipaldi).

ProCigar throws an annual cigar festival, and the next festival takes place in February. Fuente said he was uncertain if he would be able to attend, given previous commitments.