The history of Arturo Fuente Cigars is a story of struggle, war and determination, all of which have contributed largely to the prestige that still exists behind the name today. If you are an avid fan of these luxurious cigars, understanding the fascinating history behind the brand will make you appreciate the name even more.
Arturo Fuente immigrated to the United States in 1902 after leaving Cuba during the Spanish-American war. He settled in West Tampa, Florida, hoping to restart his life after war destroyed his hometown. At the age of 24, he decided to open up a cigar business. The year was 1912, and Cuban cigars were becoming more and more of a commodity among the elites of the country. So, Fuente decided that he could use his experience with cigars from his home country in order to create a profitable business.
Fuente’s story is similar to that of other cigar pioneers who fled their home countries and made names for themselves by handcrafting the finest cigars possible. At the time when Fuente started his business, his wooden manufacturing facility became one of a couple hundred in the Tampa area, meaning that competition was fierce. Like the other manufacturers, Fuente had his exquisite tobacco imported from Cuba, and due to the state of the country following the war, costs were extremely low.
By the mid-1920s, Fuente’s company was taking off. His cigars were becoming luxury items among the wealthy members of society in the United States, and so he incorporated his company in order to take his profits to the next level. But, within just a few years, his wooden three-story manufacturing plant burned to the ground. Fuente lacked the funds to rebuild, and so the company was temporarily dead. To make matters worse, the Great Depression hit shortly after, meaning that his personal finances disappeared while his wealthy customer base was no longer capable of affording luxury items such as high-end cigars.
It wasn’t until 1946 when Fuente finally had the means to start production back up. By now, he had the ability to pick up where he left off, but this time, he opted to operate his company on a small lot on his own home property. Now living in Ybor City, Florida, he had the space to install manufacturing equipment so that cigars could be rolled essentially in his backyard. During this time, Fuente and his family members all took part in the production process, including his wife who had by then become an expert cigar roller.
In 1958, Fuente passed the business down to his son Carlos who managed to create new accounts with high-end cigar distributors in New York City and other affluent areas throughout the country. However, disaster struck in the form of the Cuban Embargo in 1962. So, Carlos moved the company down to Nicaragua in order to continue obtaining Cuban tobacco. During the Nicaraguan Revolution, the plant was destroyed, and so Carlos had to once again move operations, this time to the Dominican Republic.
In the 1980s, the company launched the Hemingways line that featured the brands now-famous aged Dominican tobacco. The line was hugely successful and contributed to the reputation that the brand still carries to this day.
Today, Carlos Fuente’s son handles operations, and Arturo Fuente Cigars produces about 30 million cigars each year. A wide range of cigars are available, and the brand continues to introduce new ones using their signature Dominican tobacco. So, the next time you smoke an Arturo Fuente cigar, bear in mind the many sacrifices that were made in order for the company to survive for over 100 years.