Despite new FDA regulations and fierce online competition, America’s cigar industry is flourishing. In 2015, around 12 billion cigars were sold in the United States. While most of them were low end brands, premium cigars sales are also growing. Thanks to a fresh interest from millennials, the U.S. cigar industry’s revenue surpassed $8.2 billion in 2018. To try to keep up with demand, over 330 million premium cigars were imported to America in 2017. This was the highest level of premium cigar imports since 1998, and the industry is expected to grow 2.4% every year.
Now that the stigma of cigarettes is finally being separated from cigars, the industry is undergoing a revolution. Over 17.4 million Americans smoke cigars regularly, which makes up 7.3% of all adults in the U.S. Faced with a reinvigorated market, cigar shops are scrambling to keep up with demand. To complete requests, more premium cigars are being imported into America. While restrictions are getting tighter on Cuban cigars, many companies in Central America are stepping in to fill the void. For the last five years Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic have enjoyed steady growth in America-bound cigar imports.
As the focus continues to shift towards premium cigars, some brands are enjoying larger than life sales. To highlight companies that are leading the industry, we compiled a list of the most popular cigar brands in America. By providing exotic cigars at an affordable price, these companies are creating a renaissance for cigars. Prepare to see some familiar names on this list, since they are impossible for any aficionado to miss!
Most Popular Cigar Brands in America
Cigar Brand #3: Romeo y Julieta – Out of the hundreds of cigar shops we consulted, 19.4% named this brand as their best seller. This isn’t surprising, since Romeo y Julieta have one of the most illustrious histories in the world. Established in 1875, the company was later acquired by the head of the Cabañas factory Jose “Pepin" Rodriguez Fernandez. In many ways Rodriguez embodied the brand as he travelled throughout Europe with his race horse Julieta. He promoted his company incessantly, which garnered a large amount of high-end clientele throughout Europe.
After Rodriguez died in 1954, the company was faced with a new challenge. Fidel Castro’s revolution led to the nationalization of Cuba’s tobacco industry, which forced many producers to flee the country. Romeo y Julieta was no exception, since they relocated to La Romana in the Dominican Republic. Today the company is backed by Altadis SA, so the future looks bright for this resilient brand.
Cigar Brand #2: Padrón – This daring company has managed to keep the family business alive for three generations. Founded in 1964 by Cuba-native José Orlando Padrón, the Miami-based company ended up relocating to Nicaragua six years later. This proved to be a wise move, since the brand exploded in popularity. Every year they sell over 4.5 million cigars, which generates $16 million in revenue. Due to their consistent catalogue of quality releases, Padrón is the second most requested cigar brand in America.
Cigar Brand #1: Arturo Fuente – Producing over 30 million cigars a year, Arturo Fuente is the largest family-owned premium cigar company in the world. Ever since it was founded in 1912, the company managed to maintain its essence. When the original West Tampa factory burned down in 1924, production was halted for 22 years. After WWII Arturo Fuente started the cigar brand back up on his back porch. Business remained slow until Arturo’s youngest son Carlos bought the company for $1 in 1958.
Despite starting with only $1,161 in assets, Carlos’ shrewd business tactics revolutionized the company. When producing the cigars in Florida became unprofitable, Carlos Fuente relocated the family business to Nicaragua. Today they make over 30 million cigars a year and are the most sought after brand in America. This rags to riches story embodies an American dream that became international.