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Cigar Industry

General Cigar Acquires All Toraño Brands

Sep 11, 2014 | By Gregory Mottola
General Cigar Acquires All Toraño Brands

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."

General Cigar Co.
"Brian Prato... http://www.cigaraficionado.com/webfeatures/show/id/General-Acquires-Sam-Leccia-Brands-17786" —September 25, 2014 08:50 AM
"What is going to happen to the Sam Leccia cigar line which is made at torano??? " —September 18, 2014 01:45 AM
"I was appalled when I read how Charlie went about this business transaction. I also learned that this is not the first time he left his people twisting in the wind. When GC took over the sales of Torano brands, he let his sales staff go with no warning, just before Christmas. The business community is better off without people like him in it. There are far better ways to handle this situation than the way he did. Shame on you, Charlie. You know, karma is a strange thing. It tends to cause things like this to come back around and bite you." —September 16, 2014 21:33 PM
"A sad day indeed. I have always enjoyed small market cigars and Torano has been on my recommended list when showing cigars to the public. The General line of cigars leave little to me, having smoked the odd one in the portfolio, but not something I would ever stock up on. I hope that the Torano name lives on with more consistency than the rest of the brand line under General." —September 16, 2014 19:23 PM
"A sad day indeed. I have always enjoyed small market cigars and Torano has been on my recommended list when showing cigars to the public. The General line of cigars leave little to me, having smoked the odd one in the portfolio, but not something I would ever stock up on. I hope that the Torano name lives on with more consistency than the rest of the brand line under General." —September 16, 2014 19:07 PM
"I have seen over the past decade several brands sell out, or should I say get bought out. Business is business, these things happen. I have heard stories of family members getting short changed, and loyal employees getting thrown under the bus. Money can make people do amazing things .... I have seen it in my own family. Never value paper over people. Never ! " —September 16, 2014 19:04 PM
"I don't like the fact that it seems like Charlie did this all behind the back of other family members as it appears Jack Torano was clueless til the morning of the sale. It is also messed up that his employees were not considered as they were loyal to the brand, and in return the company did nothing to secure their future. " —September 12, 2014 15:15 PM
"Torano Reserva Selecta was the first hand-rolled cigar I ever had. The brand will always hold a special place for me. Praying it goes well for the employees who are being kept and the ones being let go." —September 12, 2014 11:49 AM
"Glad to see some of the lines are going to remain the same. Hopefully there won't be a reblend of the others." —September 12, 2014 11:37 AM

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