WhiskyFest Las Vegas is Dec. 2nd. Buy VIP tickets to taste rare and hard-to-find whiskies!

Cigar Industry

Fire In The Free Zone: William Ventura Cigar Factory In D.R. Burns Down

The Dominican factory that produces cigar brands such as Caldwell and Room101 was lost in a blaze that started early this morning
Sep 26, 2022 | By Gregory Mottola
Fire In The Free Zone: William Ventura Cigar Factory In D.R. Burns Down

Sirens blared in a Santiago free zone early this morning as firefighters fought a blaze that consumed the William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic. William Ventura was a small factory known for producing cigars such as Room101 and Caldwell as well as lesser-known brands from companies such as La Barba and the newly formed Freud Cigar Co.

“They have yet to extinguish the fire,” Robert Caldwell of Caldwell Cigars told Cigar Aficionado this morning. “It started before 3 a.m., local time, and as of 10 a.m., local time, it is still burning.”

No injuries have been reported.

The factory is a total loss, according to multiple sources. Caldwell said that includes everything inside. “All inventory, including boxes, rings and finished cigars etc. We lost about 800,000 cigars that were awaiting packaging or aging. The factory’s total was higher.”

A source, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The building that held two factories, Intercigar and William Ventura, burned down completely around 4 a.m. this morning.” Intercigar S.A. is owned by Maurice Kots. A source tells Cigar Aficionado that Intercigar lost around 700 thousand finished cigars, as well as a large supply of raw materials and tobacco.

Plans have already begun to produce cigars elsewhere. Caldwell says he is working with the Ventura factory to restart production at satellite facilities and at the company’s other cigar factory (El Maestro) in the coming week.

The family-owned factory, which is owned and operated by Wiliiam Ventura, was located in the same industrial free zone as Jochy Blanco’s Tabacalera Palma and PDR Cigars, which is directly next to the fire. The fire did not spread to any adjacent buildings. The factory employed around 100 people and had a little fewer than 40 rollers.

“We at Freud Cigar Co. are deeply saddened by the news this morning that Tabacalera William Ventura has burned down,” says Luís Torres of Freud Cigar. “We will offer our love and support in the coming days to the Ventura family during this trying time.”

Read Next: Hurricane Strikes Dominican Republic, Damage To Cigar Industry Appears Minimal

La Barba

More in Cigar Industry

See all
2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Lunch With Oliva Cigars

2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Lunch With Oliva Cigars

After a morning of several seminars and many cigars, a welcomed lunch was offered to guests, courtesy …

Nov 17, 2022
2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Thirty Years Of Cigar Aficionado

2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Thirty Years Of Cigar Aficionado

Senior contributing editor Gordon Mott was joined by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and Litto Gomez to …

Nov 17, 2022
2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: No. 2 and No. 3 Cigars of 2021

2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: No. 2 and No. 3 Cigars of 2021

At the Big Smoke Las Vegas seminars, the Cigar Aficionado staff sat down with the cigarmakers who …

Nov 17, 2022
2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Welcome To The Jungle: Mysteries Of Cameroon Tobacco

2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Welcome To The Jungle: Mysteries Of Cameroon Tobacco

In the second seminar on Saturday during the Big Smoke Las Vegas, we explored the mysteries of …

Nov 16, 2022
The 2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Evenings

The 2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Evenings

The Big Smoke Las Vegas had a new home this year, but the festivities were as good as they've ever …

Nov 15, 2022
Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest Returns In March

Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest Returns In March

The Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest, combining the best of the worlds of fine cigars and exceptional …

Nov 15, 2022