Tabacalera USA, the United States-based premium cigar division of U.K. global tobacco giant Imperial Brands PLC, has acquired Serious Cigars LLC, a Texas-based retailer and online cigar vendor. To manage the acquisition, Tabacalera has formed a new business division called Casa de Montecristo Inc., which oversees its Casa de Montecristo branded retail store locations.
"As part of our expansion and growth, we recently created Casa de Montecristo Inc., a new business unit under Tabacalera USA," Javier Estades, president & chief executive officer of Tabacalera USA, told Cigar Aficionado.
Rob Maneson has been appointed general manager of the new business unit. Previously Maneson acted as vice president of retail operations at MC Management, a services company that provides support to all of Imperial Brands' premium cigar operations in the U.S.
"Casa de Montecristo [is made up of] company-owned stores and licensed-based partnerships and includes such top established premium cigar retailers in the country as Casa de Montecristo Chicago; Casa de Montecristo by Smoke Inn, based in Boynton Beach, Florida; and Prime Cigar by Casa de Montecristo in Miami," Maneson said in a statement. "The creation of this new business unit under the Tabacalera USA umbrella will help coordinate and enhance the adult premium cigar smoker experience in all Casa de Montecristo stores."
The most recent acquisition is Houston-based premium cigar retailer Serious Cigars, LLC., which currently encompasses four brick-and-mortar locations as well as the e-commerce website, www.seriouscigars.com. The company expects that, in time, the locations will take on the name Casa de Montecristo by Serious Cigars.
"As you know, the Casa de Montecristo program has been nearly a decade in the making," Estades explained. "The program includes company-owned stores and license-based partnerships with some of the top established premium cigar retailers in the country and we're excited to now add Serious Cigars to the family. Casa de Montecristo [Inc.] will operate the recently acquired Serious Cigars along with the existing Casa de Montecristo locations."
"I can tell you that I am very excited for our customers and our employees," Ron Lesseraux, former owner of Serious Cigars, told Cigar Aficionado. "This change will create new programs for our customers and opportunities for our employees. Much will stay the same. The legendary Customer Appreciation party will continue to happen as will the Texas Cigar Festival."
Lesseraux confirmed that he will be staying on with Serious Cigars for six months to act as a consultant and assist with the transition.
In addition to the newly created Casa de Montecristo subdivision, Tabacalera USA also oversees: Altadis U.S.A., the manufacturer and distributor of non-Cuban premium cigar brands such as Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, and H. Upmann; and J.R. Cigar, one of the largest premium cigar wholesale and retail businesses in the United States.