My office is closed today, due to the approach of Hurricane Sandy. Outside the wind is howling and the water is rising, and we’re waiting for the worst to come later tonight.
Hurricanes are rare in the New York area, but they’re quite common in cigar country, and I’ve been getting calls and emails of concern from friends in the cigar industry. Jorge Padrón called, checking on how things looked up here, and I just got off the phone with Litto Gomez, who was also checking in on me. Earlier, Rafael Nodal sent me an email. They’ve all been through the same and much worse, but they know that all of us up here in the north are hurricane novices.
If you make cigars, hurricanes are a part of your world, and there are legendary storms that have reshaped the cigar world. Hurricane Gilbert tore the roof from the Royal Jamaica factory in 1988, and the brand had to be moved from Jamaica as a result.
Hurricane Georges nearly ended the Fuente Fuente OpusX brand, taking down so many of the Fuente Family’s tobacco curing barns in 1998 they doubted they could go on. And Hurricane Mitch, a brutal storm that killed thousands in Central America, shut down the Nicaraguan and Honduran cigar industries for a time in 1998, scouring away tobacco fields.
Sandy is supposed to be bad, but we’ve had time to prepare and hopefully it shall pass without too much harm. For all of you in the path of this storm, stay safe.