Tony Bellatto, president of La Barba Cigars, has formed a new cigar company with his father called Bellatto Premium Cigars. Bellatto cofounded La Barba in 2012.
“La Barba Cigars has been a great adventure for me, it was my dream. I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve made,” Bellatto said in a statement. “Now, a decade later, I have new dreams, new ideas—those need a fresh start to find their way.”
The new company’s formation coincides with two important milestones: Tony's ten-year anniversary as a cigarmaker, and his father Gene’s 50th anniversary in the cigar industry. The elder Bellatto has owned three cigar stores in Northeast Ohio, has been a part of various house brands and served as importer and distributor of the Fittipaldi cigar brand in the early 2000s, a cigar that was endorsed by Brazilian racecar driver Emerson Fittipaldi.
Bellatto will continue his relationship with La Barba, but his role moving forward will be overseeing quality and production. And his new company will share a factory with the old one, as Bellatto will have cigars made at the Tabacalera William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic, where La Barbas are rolled. Bellatto told Cigar Aficionado he will also be exploring some other factories as well.
Down & Back LLC, which distributes La Barba, will also be handling distribution for Bellatto Premium Cigars.
Among the yet-to-be-announced releases will be three cigar lines and a limited edition.