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Cigar Industry

Fire Destroys Two Arturo Fuente Tobacco Warehouses

Aug 25, 2011 | By Gordon Mott
Fire Destroys Two Arturo Fuente Tobacco Warehouses
Photo/Onelio Dominguez

An early Tuesday morning fire burned down two large tobacco warehouses of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., the manufacturer of Fuente Fuente Opus X and Arturo Fuente cigars. The fire in Villa Gonzalez, near the company's main offices in Santiago, Dominican Republic, completely destroyed large inventories of aged tobacco and possibly caused smoke damage to some other nearby storage facilities.
"We don't really know how much tobacco we have lost," said Carlos Fuente Jr. in a telephone interview from the Dominican Republic today. "But it was a lot—a lot of tobacco."
Fuente Jr. declined to give any specific figures about the quantity or the dollar value of the tobacco lost. But, he said that it included bales of some irreplaceable tobacco that had been purchased in 1990 from a Connecticut grower and may have been harvested as long ago as 1960. Fuente Jr. said the tobacco was still being saved for some special projects. He added, however, that the bulk of the tobacco was regular filler leaves, and that there was very little wrapper tobacco in the burned buildings.

"It's just so sad. You save it. You wait. You save it some more. In my lifetime, we won't be able to recreate some of this tobacco," Fuente Jr. said.

He said that the company had been moving tobacco around to different warehouses in recent months to be sure that the leaves used in their products weren't all in the same place. But he admitted that fire would force them to cut back production for the next year, possibly even for two years. The company also makes cigars for the Ashton and J.C. Newman brands.

"At our current production levels, we just have to cut back so that we can maintain the consistency of our cigars," Fuente Jr. said. He added that they still had plenty of aged tobacco spread around other warehouses throughout the Dominican Republic, but the cutbacks were going to be necessary to ensure the consistency and quality of all the company's cigars.

Fuente Jr. said that Tabacalera A. Fuente production for 2011 was going to be in the range of 22 to 23 million cigars.

The company, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012, has suffered nine fires during its history.

"Thank God, every one is okay, and no one was hurt," Fuente Jr. said. "So, we're doing pretty well. You just hate to see all that hard work lost."

Tabacalera A. Fuente Y Cia.
"Bad news, but really... didn't learn from the previous EIGHT FIRES? Sprinkler warehouses with inventory that valuable!" —September 4, 2011 11:44 AM
"Это грустная новость, но я уверен, что семья Фуэнте как всегда с честью выберется из сложившейся ситуации." —August 31, 2011 06:07 AM
"It's tragic hosently; but as the article mettioens there have been fires before and they have obiously come back from them stornger. So, yes this is terrbile but I think in the end they'll be fine " —August 30, 2011 08:37 AM
"I was very sad to hear this news. My first cigars, good cigars that is, were Arturo Fuentes and Ashtons, which have stayed in my lineup over the years. I wish the Fuente family the best as they work through this difficult set of circumstances." —August 29, 2011 17:28 PM
"Growing up with Carlos Jr.and Auturo Jr. in Tampa, this saddens me. They are a great family. My thoughts and prayers are with them all! I have no doubts they will recover quickly!" —August 29, 2011 15:12 PM
"Cudos to the manufacturers that have expressed sadness in this incident. The cigar industry truly is a family. " —August 28, 2011 18:20 PM
"Is it bad that as I sit in the path of Irene, I am more concerned about the news of this fire than the approaching storm? Best of luck recovering from this terrible event!" —August 27, 2011 11:50 AM
"Tragic. What a fine Cigar and Company. " —August 27, 2011 09:40 AM
"This is truly sad and disappointing news seeing as how I recently started smoking Arturo Fuente cigars. I certainly doesn't affect the availability of their cigars. " —August 27, 2011 00:57 AM
"From all of us at Colibri, I want to personally let everybody involved with the Fuente Family know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all. They are truly "Family" to me and to my family and want them to know that we are thinking about them during this difficult time. Les Mann " —August 26, 2011 15:51 PM
"The Fuente Family is one of the most wonderful families I have ever known. This is truly a sad moment for them and Drew Estate wished them the best in getting through this terrible experience. As Carlito said, nobody was injured or killed, so in the long run, the Fuente's will be just fine, and I'm sure will come back even stronger. Bless them. Jonathan Drew" —August 26, 2011 14:44 PM
"Wow" —August 26, 2011 09:58 AM
"What a shame, thank God nobody got hurt. I wonder what the cause of the fire was? Hopefully no foul play...." —August 25, 2011 23:06 PM

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