General Cigar Company

Last updated
General Cigar Company
PredecessorCullman Brothers
Founded1906;116 years ago (1906) in Evansville, Indiana, USA
Richmond, Virginia
Area served
Key people
Regis Broersma (President)
ProductsPremium Cigar and Pipe Tobacco
Parent Scandinavian Tobacco Group

General Cigar Company is the largest manufacturers of premium cigars in the world. It is a subsidiary of Scandinavian Tobacco Group with North American headquarters located in Richmond, Virginia.


General Cigar Company General Cigar Company in Evansville.jpg
General Cigar Company

Company history

In 1961 General Cigar, which was profitably selling about $30 million worth of cigars annually, was purchased for approximately $25 million by a group of investors headed by Edgar M. Cullman (brother of then Philip Morris Company CEO Joseph Cullman), a fourth generation American in the tobacco industry. [1]

Later in the 1960s, Culbro[ clarification needed ] and General Cigar acquired Gradiaz Annis, maker of Gold Label cigars and the Temple Hall factory that owned the Macanudo brand name, ushering in a turn towards hand-rolled premium cigars. [1] Macanudo, a small label made in limited quantities for the market in the United Kingdom, was seen as the principal vehicle for growth in the premium cigar category. A careful effort was made to reblend the product for the large American marketplace (then and now subject to a ban on Cuban tobacco, the industry's gold standard) using select binder and filler from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Mexico and Connecticut shade-grown wrapper. [1] Mass advertising was conducted in support of the brand, which by the early 1990s had grown into the best selling premium cigar label in the United States. [1]

In 1978 General registered a U.S. trademark on the brand name "Cohiba", thereby obtaining the right to use the name of that premium Cuban cigar in the American market without any connection to or content provided by its Cuban maker. Protracted legal wrangling followed, resolved when the U. S. Supreme Court denied the petition of the Cuban tobacco marketing agency, Cubatabaco, in 2006. [2] General Cigar's Cohiba cigars bear a disclaimer stating that they are not affiliated in any way with the Cuban Cohiba brand.

From 1978 General Cigar has also produced the Cuban tobacco free Partagas and Bolivar cigar brands for the American market in competition with Cuban brands of the same name. Initial production of Partagas was conducted in Jamaica, but the following year production moved to a modern 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic. [3]

A similar trade dress to the Cuban product has been used by General Cigar for its competing version of the Partagás brand, employing a red-and-gold band scheme, save with the word "Habana" replaced by the date "1845" on the packaging. [3]

In 1997, General Cigar acquired Villazon, a company marketing non-Cuban versions of the leading Cuban cigar brands Punch and Hoyo de Monterrey. [4]

In 2005, Swedish Match acquired General Cigar. [5] In 2010, Swedish Match merged its premium cigars into Scandinavian Tobacco Group. [6]

In 2016, Swedish Match sold its shares of General Cigar back to STG.

In January of 2021, Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S (STG), the company behind General Cigar and Cigars International, announced the formation of a new company, The Forged Cigar Company, an independent national cigar distribution network. The cigar brands under General Cigar were split up between General and Forged with the latter focusing more on Brick and Mortar business.

The first brands that were moved to The Forged Cigar Company were Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Bolivar Cofradia, Diesel and Chillin’ Moose. Brands that remained with General included CAO, Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey, Macanudo, and Punch. Later the El Rey Del Mundo brand was added to Forged's portfolio. [7]

General Cigar's brands

Historic building

General Cigar Company
General Cigar Company in Evansville.jpg
Southern side of the building
USA Indiana location map.svg
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Location223 NW 2nd St., Evansville, Indiana
Coordinates 37°57′51″N87°34′30″W / 37.96417°N 87.57500°W / 37.96417; -87.57500 Coordinates: 37°57′51″N87°34′30″W / 37.96417°N 87.57500°W / 37.96417; -87.57500
AreaLess than 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built byHarry Boyle and Company; Alfred E. Neucks
Architectural styleArts and Crafts
NRHP reference No. 00000212 [8]
Added to NRHPMarch 15, 2000

The General Cigar Company building at Evansville, Indiana was built in 1902, and expanded in 1929. It is a three-story, "L"-shaped red brick building with Arts and Crafts style design elements. [9] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Cuban cigar

Cuban cigars are cigars manufactured in Cuba from tobacco grown within that island nation. Historically regarded as among the world's “finest”, they are synonymous with the island's culture and contribute nearly one quarter of the value of all exports from the country.

Cohiba (cigar brand) Brand of cigars

Cohiba is a brand for two kinds of premium cigar, one produced in Cuba for Habanos S.A., the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and the other produced in the Dominican Republic for US-based General Cigar Company. The name cohíba derives from the Taíno word for "tobacco".

Bolívar (cigar brand)

Bolívar is the name of two brands of premium cigar, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and the other produced in the Dominican Republic from Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco for General Cigar Company, which is today a subsidiary of Scandinavian Tobacco Group. Both are named for the South American revolutionary, Simón Bolívar.

H. Upmann Brand of Cuban cigars

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Partagás (cigar brand)

Partagás is the brand name of two lines of cigars made by two independent and competing entities, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company; the other, containing no Cuban tobacco, produced in the Dominican Republic for General Cigar Company, a division of Scandinavian Tobacco Group of Denmark.

Habanos S.A. is a Cuban manufacturing company of tobacco that controls the promotion, distribution, and export of premium cigars and other tobacco products for Cuba worldwide. It was established in 1994.

Quintero (cigar)

Quintero is a brand of premium cigars, owned by British conglomerate Imperial Brands. The brand is produced in Cuba by Habanos S.A., the local state-owned tobacco company, which also owns the brands Cohiba, Montecristo, and Romeo y Julieta.

Hoyo de Monterrey Name of two cigar brands

Hoyo de Monterrey is the name of two brands of premium cigar, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company and the other produced in Honduras by General Cigar Company, now a subsidiary of Swedish Match.

Ramón Allones (cigar)

Ramón Allones is the name of two premium cigar brands, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and other produced in Honduras for General Cigar Company, now a subsidiary of Swedish Match.

La Gloria Cubana is the name of two premium cigar brands, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and other produced in the Dominican Republic by El Credito Cigar Company for General Cigar Company, now a subsidiary of Swedish Match. La Gloria Cubana was sold to General Cigar Company by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo in 1999 for an undisclosed sales price.

Por Larrañaga Cigar brand

Por Larrañaga is the name of a cigar brand produced in Cuba for Habanos S.A., the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, as well as a non-Cuban line of cigars produced in the Dominican Republic and Honduras for Altadis, a subsidiary of Imperial Brands. Por Larrañaga cigars have been in continuous production in Cuba since 1834, longer than any other Cuban cigar brand.

Pepin Garcia

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Troya is a U.S. brand of handmade premium cigar originally owned by Lignum-2, Inc. The brand in an old Cuban brand, established in 1932, but the Cuban version is now offered only as an all-machine-made brand of but two vitolas.

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Alejandro Robaina was a Cuban tobacco grower.

Frank Llaneza American businessman

Frank Anthony Llaneza was a tobacco blender and former executive of Villazon & Co. who is regarded as a pioneer in the resurgence of the premium cigar industry at the end of the 20th Century. Llaneza is best known for the creation and manufacture of a number of popular cigar brands in the years after the 1962 Cuban Embargo, including Hoyo de Monterrey, Punch, Bolivar, and Siglo.

Boutique Blends Cigars

Boutique Blends Cigars, formerly the Habana Cuba Cigar Company, is an American manufacturer of premium hand-rolled cigars based in Miami, Florida. The company was established in 1996 during the American cigar boom as the non-Cuban manufacturer of the historic Cuban "Oliveros" brand. The company was sold in 2002 to a new ownership group consisting of the Cuban-born Rafael Nodal ; his wife Alina Cordoves Nodal, and Hank Bischoff.

Sancho Panza is the name of a premium cigar brand in Cuba dating from 1848, and still produced there for Habanos S.A., the Cuban state-owned tobacco company.

Edgar M. Cullman was an American businessman who served as President and CEO of General Cigar Company and is credited with transforming the image of cigars.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Marvin R. Shanken, "Interview: Edgar Cullman, Sr.," Cigar Aficionado, vol. 3, no. 1 (Autumn 1994), pp. 55–71.
  2. Empresa Cubana del Tabaco v. Culbro Corp., 399 F.3d 462 (2d Cir. 2005).
  3. 1 2 James Suckling, "The Partagas Family: Cigar Smokers from Around the World Gathered in Havana and Orlando This Summer to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Partagas Cigars," Cigar Aficionado, vol. 4, no. 2 (Winter 1995/96), pp. 134–143.
  4. "General Cigar Co.," Neptune Cigars, Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  5. Swedish Match To Acquire Remaining Ownership In General Cigar
  6. Savona, David. "Swedish Match and Scandinavian Tobacco Merge to Form Giant Cigar Company". Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  7. "Cigar News: STG Announces The Forged Cigar Company". Blind Man's Puff. 2021-01-13. Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  8. 1 2 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  9. "Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-08-01.Note: This includes Kristen Brennan (June 1999). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: General Cigar Company" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-01.