Cigar industry veteran Michael Giannini is taking his talents to a new home: Ventura Cigar Co. Giannini will assume the role of creative director at Ventura Cigars.
In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, Giannini, who worked with General Cigar Co. for 17 years before parting ways last year, says that his duties will include brand ambassador for existing Ventura Cigar brands such as Archetype, Psyko Seven and Case Study. Additionally, he will develop new cigars projects, all the way from blending to marketing.
“There’s some interesting projects I’ll be working on with the crew,” says Giannini. “I want the work to speak for itself. It’s about the brands and not about me.”
While the news of Giannini joining forces with Ventura broke today, he says that he actually began working for the company, which is a subsidiary of Kretek International, Inc., a couple of weeks ago.
“I started working on the East Coast, visiting old friends at cigar shops in Virginia, the Carolinas, and I’ll be up in Connecticut tomorrow,” Giannini says. He said that he will be relocating to Los Angeles soon to be near the Ventura headquarters, which is situated in Moorpark, California.
Giannini, born and raised in Philadelphia, began his career as a pipe tobacco blender and retail clerk before switching over to cigars with a job at Ashton Distributors Inc. He then moved on to General Cigar in 1999, where he worked on the La Gloria Cubana brand.
In March 2012, Giannini was promoted to his role as creative director, which also carried the title of director of innovations. He was responsible for coming up with non-traditional cigar releases, and started the Foundry Cigar Co., a subsidiary of General dedicated to unorthodox cigars, including the signature Foundry brand. It featured cigars made from blends of tobacco he wouldn't reveal, packed in odd-shaped boxes, one of which came together in a shape reminiscent of a bundle of TNT.
“Giannini is a key addition to the Ventura Cigar Co. team, we’re excited that Michael is back doing what he does best,” said Jason Carignan, chief marketing officer of Kretek International, Inc. “His vast industry knowledge and creative prowess are resources that we are excited to tap into and use to further develop the brands and products within the Ventura Cigar Co. portfolio. He is a true visionary with a business mind, and we are pleased to have him aboard.”