After more than 20 years working for others in the cigar industry, Hostos Fernandez Quesada has gone out on his own. The 36-year-old opened his own small factory in the Dominican Republic last week where he produces handmade, premium cigars.
“I just thought it was time to take a swing,” Quesada said on a Zoom interview with Cigar Aficionado. “I don’t want to turn 60 without having done this. It’s now or never.”
Quesada had previously been with cigar label printing company Cigar Rings, which he joined in 2018, but his true cigar production and tobacco experience came from the two decades he spent at Quesada Cigars working for his uncle, Manuel “Manolo” Quesada.
Called Tabacalera La Isla, the new 14,000 square-foot-factory is located in Santiago’s Gurabo industrial free zone, near the Camp David resort. The factory opened last week, and it’s a small one; La Isla will have 20 cigarmakers (10 bunchers and 10 rollers) when the factory gets up to larger capacity in January.
Right now, Quesada has two private labels that he’ll be producing with the possibility of creating a cigar brand of his own in the future.
“My main goal is just to get things moving,” he said. “When things pick up with the private labels, then maybe I’ll start my own brand.”
Quesada added that his facility is compliant with the Dominican Republic’s Covid-19 restrictions: tables are more than two meters apart, workers have to wear masks and odorless hand sanitizer is required.
Quesada told Cigar Aficionado that he has no financial partners in the venture.