Many of us tobacco enthusiasts take for granted the spectacularly colorful histories of our favorite cigar manufacturers, ignoring the decade of fascinating history that have allowed us to continue enjoying our favorite smokes year after year. Many companies come and go, but the ones who have managed to stick around for the majority of the past century are most certainly worthy of our acknowledgement. And, one of the most striking stories behind any cigar brand is that of Nat Sherman, who continues to satisfy consumers with delectable cigars as time goes on.
Nat Sherman, to the surprise of many, did not start out in the tobacco business in the way that many of our favorite manufacturers did. He did not originate from a South American country, and nor did he find himself immersed in the cigar-making industry since childhood. Nat Sherman, as it turns out, first rose to prominence as the owner of a widely celebrated speakeasy in 1920s New York. Now, it goes without saying that he was himself a cigar enthusiast, as many reported. However, little did he know at the time that his future revolved around cigars rather than metropolitan nightlife.
Sherman was an avid gambler, and it’s believed that this habit is what led him to becoming a partner of the celebrated Epoca cigar company that operated out of Havana, Cuba and Miami, Florida. It didn’t take long for Sherman to buy out his partner and take over the brand completely, which didn’t just give him control over the company, but the ability to dive deeper into the industry.
Shortly after, Sherman managed to invest in a new real estate property on Broadway in Manhattan, which made it easy for him to rent out a new storefront so that he could sell his now-famous cigars to wealthy New York residents. The store sold high-end cigars and cigarettes, including those from the Epoca brand. But, now, Sherman had his own name-brand cigars that he could offer as well. By all accounts, only the most prestigious members of society patronized his store, establishing for him a reputation among the elites of the industry as well as society.
In the 1960s, Sherman began to experiment with his products, creating plastic-tipped cigars long before they were fashionable, and putting robust cigar tobacco into cigarettes. Both of these practices are now very popular within the industry, and at the time, they helped him diversify his brand to appeal to a wider audience. The store also began selling pipes, which only increased Sherman’s success. However, by the late 1970s, Nat Sherman slowly lost its appeal in favor of other up-and-coming brands.
In the 1990s, Nat’s son Joel took over the company, following the death of his father. Joel had worked in the flagship store for some time on and off, which allowed him to learn much about the industry before it would be his time to lead the company. It was during this time that Joel decided to turn Nat Sherman into a high-end luxury brand. Now, the flagship store is located on Fifth Avenue, and remains one of the most widely visited tobacco shops in the United States. Joel is credited with launching one of the most impressive brand resurgences in the history of the tobacco industry. After all, it’s a fickle industry, and staying on top for decades takes a lot of work. It’s clear that Joel Sherman is capable of continuing his father’s vision for decades to come, as he continues to release new and exciting products that appeal to a wide range of tobacco enthusiasts.