Joya de Nicaragua Inks Agreement With Drew Estate

Nicaragua's oldest cigar brand has inked an exclusive U.S. distribution deal with one of the country's most innovative cigar companies.

Today in New York City, Joya de Nicaragua brand owner Alejandro Martinez-Cuenca and Drew Estate chairman and founder Jonathan Drew told Cigar Aficionado about Joya's five-year marketing and distribution deal with Drew Estate, which begins on April 25.

"We felt it was imperative to introduce changes in our marketing and distribution strategies," said Martinez-Cuenca, 60, who has owned Joya de Nicaragua since 1994. "Joya de Nicaragua is an exemplary Nicaraguan puro which has earned a privileged place with experienced cigar smokers. The task before us now is to achieve a market presence which is consistent not only with its value, but more importantly, its soul."

The deal includes all the cigars made by Joya de Nicaragua S.A. for sale in the United States, from the bold and spicy Joya de Nicaragua Antaño, to the more easygoing Celebración and Serie C lines. Joya de Nicaragua (formerly called Tabacos Puros de Nicaragua S.A.) distributes its own cigars outside of the United States, which accounts for about half of its sales.

For the past seven years, Joya de Nicaraguas have been distributed in the United States by S.A.G. Imports, Manuel Quesada's Miami company that distributes Fonseca and Cubita cigars, among others. "It has been a gratifying experience having had the opportunity to work together with Sr. Manuel Quesada and his team," said Martinez-Cuenca.

Drew, creator of the Acid brand, was visibly excited about taking on distribution of Joya. "I'm honored to be handling the brand in the United States," said the 37-year-old Drew, a self-described "cigar geek" who has lived in Nicaragua for 11 years. "The changes [in marketing and distribution] are going to be comprehensive…watch out."

For much more on this story, see the April 8 Cigar Insider.