General Cigar Co. has acquired all Toraño Family Cigar brands. According to General, production of Toraño's existing portfolio such as Exodus, Casa Toraño, Vault and Master Collection will remain the same. General is now assuming full ownership and distribution of every Toraño brand. Financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
"They bought all the brands and stepped into my shoes," said former brand owner and Toraño president Charlie Toraño to Cigar Aficionado. "General is a full-fledged distribution company. Toraño Family Cigar Company is now in a winding-down phase. We existed to distribute the Toraño cigars that we had manufactured for us. Now that General owns the brands, there's no longer a function for Toraño Family Cigar."
General has acquired Toraño's entire brand portfolio but not the company Toraño Family Cigar, which will no longer exist.
Dan Carr, president of General cigar said, "The acquisition of the Toraño brands represents an opportunity for us to strategically expand our portfolio. Our companies have been intertwined for over 50 years, and I look forward to working with Charlie."
The partnership started in the '50s when Toraño's grandfather sold Cuban tobacco to Edgar Cullman Sr. At the time, Cullman owned General Cigar. After the trade embargo against Cuba was instated, Toraño continued to grow tobacco in Connecticut and then the Dominican Republic, maintaining the business relationship with General.
"We owned two factories, Latin Cigars de Honduras and Latin Cigars de Nicaragua," said Toraño. "That's where we made brands like CAO, Toraño and Dunhill. When the Scandinavian Tobacco Group bought CAO, we sold the two factories to them. Then STG merged with [General's parent company] Swedish Match in 2010. When that happened, General started producing the Exodus lines, Casa Toraño, Cameroon 1916 and The Brick in those same factories that we sold."
Toraño brands such as Vault and Master Collection, which are produced in the privately-owned American Caribbean Cigars factory in Nicaragua, will still be made there. Presently, General has no plans to move the production of those brands to another facility.
Toraño acknowledged to Cigar Aficionado that this means the loss of jobs for employees at Toraño Family Cigar, but he's very positive that the brand will be treated well under the General umbrella and will be helping to usher the transition.
"I'll be consulting with General for a while, but I am not a General employee and not on the company's payroll."