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.”

#WhereIsCarlito

Carlito travels the world spreading love and telling the Fuente family story to all. This has inspired us to bring something fun to you. Please take your “EL PAPO DEL HUMO” bobblehead and spread some love all over the globe. Take pictures with ”Carlito” in the most exotic and creative places or anywhere you think he may be. Whether next to the Statue of Liberty, sky diving off the Grand Canyon, or just having “Carlito” next to man’s best friend, let us all have fun!

How to Play:

  • Take a cool creative picture with your “El Papo del Humo” anywhere in the world;
  • Upload your picture to Facebook and tag the Where is Carlito page;
  • Upload your picture to Instagram and tag @whereiscarlito or hashtag #whereiscarlito

The best creative pictures posted on Facebook and Instagram will have an opportunity to win fun monthly prizes!!!!! Let the fun begin!!!

TWO LARGE CALIBER COMPANIES START A COLLABORATION

Arturo Fuente Cigars, one of the world’s most prestigious cigar brands, is launching a partnership with Stefano Ricci, one of the most reputable luxury outfitters for men’s fashion and lifestyle from Italy, with flagship stores at all major hotspots around the globe.

The joy was to be seen in the eyes of both the entrepreneurs: Cigar Journal had the opportunity to meet both Carlito Fuente, CEO of Arturo Fuente, as well as Filippo Ricci, creative director for Stefano Ricci, the iconic fashion label from Italy, at this year’s InterTabac and to exclusively find out more about their still dewy collaboration.

Family, quality, tradition, passion, and giving the consumer maximum satisfaction is what connects the two lifestyle experts. The result is – similar to the tailored suit – an especially created humidor with eight Fuente cigars that are made from a unique and limited blend. Read More

How Cigars Became a Symbol of Luxury

Cigar insider Carlito Fuente on how a simple smoke transformed into a premium status symbol.

Robb Reports

BY RICHARD CARLETON HACKER

Carlos “Carlito” Fuente, Jr. is president of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia, the largest family-owned premium cigar company in the world. Headquartered in Santiago, Dominican Republic, they employ 4,000 people and produce 30 million cigars a year.

The company was founded in the United States in 1912 by Arturo Fuente, who came from Cuba and was eventually joined in the business by his son, Carlos Fuente, Sr., and then his grandson, Carlos Jr. (Carlito) and granddaughter Cynthia. At various times since the Cuban embargo, the Fuentes had factories in Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, and Honduras, often losing everything due to civil unrest. Finally, in 1980, they settled in the Dominican Republic.

Since then, Carlito Fuente has become the persona of the Fuente brand and with his late father, brought back many figurado shapes and introduced innovative blends. Entire rooms in their factories are dedicated to their most famous cigars, including the Don Carlos, Hemingway, and OpusX  – a cigar that revolutionized the industry by becoming the first successful all-Dominican puro.

The Arturo Fuente Cigar Club

There may be no cigar lounge in the world more impressive to behold and more difficult to describe than the Arturo Fuente Cigar Club. Co-owned by Carlos Fuente Jr. and Ciro Cascella, the place is a hub for the capital city’s elite power brokers. Upon entering, you walk into what looks like the lobby of a swanky boutique resort. Despite the “club” name and posh appearance, it’s open to the public. Just be sure to dress accordingly. Beautiful greeters welcome all guests and get them situated. Situated? Yes, there are several accommodation options to consider even before you get to the cigars, food and drinks. You can have a business meeting in one of the private Executive Rooms; each is exquisitely decorated and designed with a different purpose, several of them running alongside the lounge giving patrons the privacy they require while still being part of the action. No expense was spared when the club was renovated and the open checkbook is probably most apparent in the Executive Rooms. To give you an idea, a couple of the rooms feature crown molding made of actual Opus X and Añejo cigars. “Those are actual Opus X and Añejo cigars,” exclaimed Cascella as we walked into the room. “We did not replace them with standins, we don’t do things halfway here.” It’s hard to imagine that a cigar club could offer such a sophisticated gourmet dining experience, but if you enjoy seafood you would be hard-pressed to find a better fine dining option anywhere. Anywhere. The shrimp three ways dish is, simply put, one of the better shrimp dishes you can have and the sea bass carpaccio is a unique expression of Peruvian fusion. The wine cellar is superb and the full liquor bar features one of the best selections of Scotch on the island. Now for the cigars. Outside of Casa Fuente in Las Vegas, you are not likely to find a more complete selection of the entire product offering from Arturo Fuente. From the hardest-to-find Opus and Añejos to the more ubiquitous Fuente 8-5-8, they are all showcased in a museum-like setting. But don’t fear the museum; you can touch and smoke the art here!