2019 COMPANY OF THE YEAR — ARTURO FUENTE

JANUARY 15, 2020 CHARLIE MINATO AWARDS – HALFWHEEL

For the last four years, Arturo Fuente has been on the most aggressive modernization campaign this industry has seen. Its main factory in the Dominican Republic has been renovated, new buildings are up at its Chateau de la Fuente tobacco field, the company is buying more fields in Nicaragua, there are plans for an ornate factory in Estelí, a box factory—perhaps the largest in the western world—is set to open soon and the company built a new bonded warehouse in Tampa. Most of these things didn’t happen in 2019, but the Arturo Fuente Construction Co. has been as active as any in the cigar industry and 2019 was no exception.

Beyond buildings, Fuente has revamped its international distribution with the launch of Arturo Fuente International. Perhaps most importantly, the company has made massive commitments to supplying these markets with products. There are new partnerships with companies like Stefano Ricci, and new developments in partnerships with its longtime partners: the Newmans and Meerapfels.

What is perhaps the most interesting aspect to this is that 2020 might be Fuente’s biggest year to date: it marks the 25th anniversary of OpusX and the 20th anniversary of Añejo.

If there is one metric where Fuente stands clearly above everyone else, it is popularity on halfwheel in 2019. If we focus solely on the articles we write about a singular company or a singular cigar, i.e. no legislation or editorial, half of the 10 most read articles about a singular company were about Fuente.

So while there might be no singular metric or moment that crowns our winner, Fuente’s body of work was as good as any in 2019.

CigarsLover Magazine Awards Best Brand Dominican Rep.

WINTER 2019 – CigarsLover Magazine

One of the most prestigious brands in the cigar world had his humble beginning in 1912 in West Tampa, Florida. Arturo Fuente, after a fire burned down the factory in 1924, restarted the brand 22 years later and produced cigars, made out of Cuban tobacco and for the local market, on his back porch. In 1958, the company was sold to his younger son Carlos Fuente Sr. for exactly $1. Carlos expanded the company outside of Florida to New York. After the embargo and no more access to Cuban tobacco, Carlos started looking for tobacco from new regions. With the labor costs increasing the family trying to move production to other countries, but the quality of these factories was insufficient. In 1970 they built their factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Disaster would strike again only nine years later, as the factory was burned down during the Nicarguan Revolution. Carlos, together with his son Carlito, invested everything that was left and in 1980 built their factory in Santiago, in the Dominican Republic. Many disasters struck again, but the family always stood back up. In they 1980s they scored their first success with introducing the Hemingway line. They also, against all odds, grew their own wrapper in the Dominican Republic, which is used for the Opus X line. Today, Arturo Fuente Cigars are famous for their many lines, such as the Hemingway, the Don Carlos and many more. Their Opus X line is one of the most luxurious cigar lines in the world, which recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary. Over the years they have enjoyed continues success with great ratings in our magazine. This year, to continue their growth worldwide, they, together with the Meerapfel family, launched Arturo Fuente International. With this launch, they now have a warehouse, located in Belgium, that can cover the demand worldwide. In a fast moving world, with the focus always going to the next best thing, Arturo Fuente has to stay relevant and on top of the cigar world.

How One of the World’s Best Cigar Makers Helps Thousands of People Every Year

The production of 30,000 cigars annually supports schooling, healthcare and organic farming for thousands in the Dominican Republic.

It’s an unfortunate paradox that nearly all of the most coveted and costly hand-rolled cigars are made in the some of the poorest developing countries. The Dominican Republic produces more premium cigars than any other nation, including Cuba, and Dominican cigars, both hand- and machine-made, account for more than $600 million a year in spending. Their manufacture has also created more than 120,000 jobs for farmers, cigar rollers, box makers and countless other tobacco industry workers.

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Liana Fuente, the multi-talented woman behind the Fuente brand, talks vision, family legacy and the future

by Natalie Glorney

BEING THE GRANDDAUGHTER OF the late Carlos Fuente, Sr. and daughter of Carlos Fuente, Jr. must carry quite a responsibility. The Arturo Fuente brand is renowned in the cigar world as the manufacturer of the world’s finest cigars. Celebrating 100 years of hard work, dedication and family tradition in 2012, Fuente cigars are a global benchmark for the cigar industry. From humble beginnings, the company has grown from strength to strength and most importantly, is still family-owned and operated in the Dominican Republic.  Read Entire Story!

WINNERS OF THE 2019 CIGAR TROPHY AWARDS ANNOUNCED

There are many awards, but only a few are conferred by you, the consumers. The greater the suspense on Friday evening, when the winners of the coveted public awards were announced in the presence of the biggest names of the industry.

To determine the shortlists our readers were asked to nominate their top-candidates in the categories Best Brand, Best Cigar, Best Value, Best Accessory, and Best Lounge and then to determine the winner from the top five. We are particularly pleased that the public awards are enjoying unwavering growth and popularity with cigar smokers from all over the world.

2019 Retailer Survey: The Best-selling Cigar Brands In America, Market Trends And More

JULY 11, 2019 | By David Clough

Cigar shop owners from across the United States have spoken: cigar sales are up, Arturo Fuente is the best-selling handmade brand, and their customers are more discerning and educated about cigars than ever before. Despite concerns over higher taxes, FDA regulations and Internet sales taking business away from brick-and-mortar stores, most cigar retailers are having a good year—and they’re optimistic about the future. These are the main takeaways from Cigar Insider’s 24th annual poll of cigar shops across America. Read More

Tobacco Business Awards Woman of the Year

Tobacco Business Magazine held its second annual Tobacco Business Awards at an exclusive invite-only ceremony held in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, 2019. This year’s event took place at The Sayers Club within the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and had close to 270 premium tobacco retailers, manufacturers and media in attendance.

Held in conjunction with the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE), the Tobacco Business Awards was designed to honor and recognize exceptional businesses, professionals, and products of the tobacco, vapor and alternative industries. This year’s ceremony was a full-on featuring of who’s who within these industries as the magazine announced the winners of the 2019 awards. This year’s awards expanded to 12 categories that could be voted on by the magazine’s print and digital readers and one non-publicized award given to an industry icon that was announced and revealed for the first time during the ceremony. New categories introduced at the 2019 awards included Nicaraguan Cigar of the Year, Dominican Cigar of the Year, Boutique Cigar of the Year, Accessory Manufacturer of the Year, Tobacconist of the Year and Woman of the Year. This year’s awards had close to 8,000 votes, nearly four times the votes of the 2018 awards.

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WOMAN OF THE YEAR: LIANA FUENTE (ARTURO FUENTE)
Liana Fuente is the very first recipient of Tobacco Business’s Woman of the Year award, an honor Fuente doesn’t take lightly but also one she doesn’t accept without acknowledging not just the other women who were nominated but all the others who have contributed to the tobacco industry in general.

“You have no idea how humbled and excited I am that people chose me as the first Woman of the Year [award recipient],” Fuente says. “For so many years growing up in this industry, it was always about men. Honestly, women have been a crucial part of this industry. In 1912 my grandfather Arturo [Fuente] started his company in the back of his house. He didn’t do it alone—he did it with his wife, Christina. When times were tough, she said, ‘OK, baby. We’ll do it together,’ and she rolled cigars with him. After that, his sons and his daughters grew the business. Now, 107 years later, we are here to say, and I am proud to say, we’re a family business with women and men working together to keep the tradition and culture alive.”

Liana Fuente was born into the cigar industry. When thinking about her childhood, cigars were as much a part of her family’s everyday life as food and water. She had many great mentors in the business, including her father, Carlito, her grandfather, Don Carlos, and her great-grandfather, Arturo, who showed her that hard work does pay off. In addition to being inspired by male figures, the women in her family have also shaped Liana’s approach to business and entrepreneurship.

“We work in what has historically been a male-dominated industry, so it is inspiring to see so many women in it now,” she says. “I was raised and am always surrounded by strong and passionate women in the Fuente family, and I hope more and more women will join this industry. Their hard work and dedication will be an invaluable asset to our great cigar industry for years to come.”

Fuente acknowledges the other women nominated alongside her this year, describing them all as strong and amazing, and saying that her win is also theirs. For the Fuente family, which has a long history in the premium cigar space that dates back over 100 years, her recognition as the first Woman of the Year is something she says they are very proud of.

Her advice to other women is simple: Never forget that you have a place in the tobacco industry. “Women are as much a part of this industry as anyone else,” she explains. “Never forget that many women have come before you, working in the factories while providing for their families. When people say the word ‘sacrifice,’ it has no gender; ‘discipline’ has no gender; ‘grit’ has no gender. Stay strong, be creative, and always, always speak your mind. You bring a lot to the table, such as innate passion and dedication, and the cigar industry will be better for it.”