Tobacco giant Swisher International Inc. has agreed to acquire cigar manufacturer Drew Estate Inc., the maker of Liga Privada, ACID and many other cigars. Swisher, the mass-market giant best known for making Swisher Sweets and other machine-made cigars, will run Drew Estate as a wholly owned subsidiary, keeping the existing management team intact.
Terms of the deal, which is expected to close before year's end, have not been disclosed.
As part of the deal, Swisher will acquire all of the Drew Estate brands, as well as the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate factory, the largest cigar factory in Nicaragua at 114,000 square feet. It produces 25 million handmade cigars annually (95,000 per day) and has a $20 million inventory of tobacco. Drew Estate's brand portfolio ranges from infused cigars such as ACID (the largest seller for the company in terms of volume), and multiple lines of premium cigars such as Liga Privada, Undercrown, My Uzi Weighs a Ton and Herrera Esteli, the number eight cigar in Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 Best Cigars of 2013.
"The products produced by Drew Estate and its distribution partners Joya de Nicaragua, Royal Agio Cigars and Tsuge pipes are top-quality market leaders in their respective segments," Peter Ghiloni, president and CEO of Swisher International, said in an official press release. "The creativity, passion and innovation of Drew Estate employees and management are a perfect match for Swisher."
Based in Jacksonville, Florida, privately held Swisher International is the world's largest producer of machine-made, mass-market cigars, with its flagship product, Swisher Sweets, the largest-selling cigar brand in the world. The company has manufacturing facilities in West Virginia and the Dominican Republic, and sells its product in more than 80 countries.
Drew Estate was founded in New York City in 1996 by Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel, both of whom are slated to remain with the company.
"We are eternally grateful to all of those who have helped build Drew Estate and look forward to advancing the Drew Estate legacy with a great partner," said Drew.
Drew Estate president Michael Cellucci noted that Drew Estate, which currently has headquarters in Miami, would benefit from the association with the much larger company. "After the transaction closes, we will continue to run our business as we have in the past and will be able to leverage the resources of Swisher to continue our growth with a renewed focus on our commitment to quality products and people—two of the core principles of the Drew Estate belief system."
This is a developing story. For more details on the acquisition, see tomorrow's Cigar Insider.