Many Arturo Fuente cigar smokers may not know the full history of the Fuente family and their quest to produce some of the most sought after cigars in the world. The history takes the family from Cuba to Ybor City, FL to Nicaragua to Honduras to the Dominican Republic. Wait, did I say Nicaragua? Yes; before the Fuente’s produced cigars in the Dominican Republic, they had a factory in Nicaragua and a damn good one too. The factory produced over 18,000 cigars/day just after 3 years under Fuente ownership.
The success in Nicaraugua was short-lived though. In 1978 the Sandinistas Liberation Front rebellion took over the country and essentially cleared and burned anything in their way. The Fuente Factory was not spared and the family saw their livelihood in Nicaragua go up in flames.
Well now, forty years later, the Fuente family is back in Esteli, Nicaragua and have been growing tobacco for a number a years on land they had quietly purchased. At this years Puro Sabor Cigar Festival luncheon, Carlito Fuente Jr, made a heartfelt announcement to the people of Esteli and the attendees at the Puro Sabor. I was in attendance with my wife Dianne and my good friend Melvin “Bossman” Robinson who was able to video Carlito’s announcement which you can see below.
Looking at the artist rendition of the factory you may notice it is being built with a Nicaraguan Colonial style architecture as a tribute to the people of this great country and its warm and loving people. Carlito stated in the announcement:
“I think of my father so much because this is my father’s dream to come back…I’m coming here with my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears because of my colleagues, my family and friends.”
The factory will be called Gran Fabrica de Tabacos La Bella y La Bestia, which translates to Beauty and the Beast.
Carlito spoke directly to the Nicaraguan people when he stated:
“I am here because Nicaragua has a great government, who has opened the doors and given opportunity for people to invest, for people to be able to come in with confidence to build the economy, to build the future of this great country. I am very grateful to the people of Nicaragua.”
Also mentioned during the announcement, is that Mr. Felix Mesa, owner of El Galan Cigars will become the manager of the new factory. El Galan cigars is known for their outstanding Nicaraguan blends the El Galan and Doña Nieves which were created by Felix to honor his family tradition in the tobacco business. Now he is honored to be called upon to run this new Fuente Factory.
Later in the week I was at the Yayabo Cigars Anniversary party and Felix Mesa was in attendance and sporting an Opus X hat. The world of cigars is forever changing and transforming. We wish the Fuente Family and Felix Mesa all the best in their new venture. Enhorabuena!!