As the oldest, family-owned premium cigar maker in America, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. has 124 years and four generations of history. Although my great-grandfather’s legacy and the lessons we have learned along the way are an important part of our company’s culture, J.C. Newman is anything but stuck in the past.
In preparation for our 125th anniversary next year, my father, uncle, and I are making a series of strategic investments in our family business. Some of these changes are operational while others are more cosmetic. However, all of these are investments in our long-term future. Our one goal as a company is to continue our family’s four-generation tradition of handcrafting premium cigars for another four generations and 100 years.
New Shipping Department
This summer we converted an old cigar box factory adjacent to El Reloj into a new, 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art shipping warehouse for Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman cigars and accessories. This modern facility is three times the size of our old ship-ping department. It has signiﬁcantly increased our shipping capacity and will allow us to provide faster order processing and delivery to our authorized retailers throughout the United States.
Expanded Capacity at J.C. Newman PENSA
The most important ingredient of any great cigar is high quality, aged tobacco. There is simply no short cut to the years that it takes to properly ferment and age premium cigar tobacco. As our sales of Brick House, Perla del Mar, Quorum, and our other brands continue to increase, we have run out of space to store and age our tobacco at our J.C. Newman PENSA factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Therefore, this month we are opening, a new, two-story tobacco warehouse adjacent to our factory so that we can increase our long-term tobacco inventory and ensure consistent blends for decades to come.
Restoring El Reloj
Our iconic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, Florida has been our home since my great-grandfather bought this historic building in 1954. As a 109-year-old factory, however, El Reloj has been showing its age. This year we are investing in restoring El Reloj so that it can proudly continue Ybor City’s cigar legacy for another century. Among other things, we are replacing decades-old electrical systems and original plumbing. We are reinforcing structural supports and repairing damaged ﬂoors. We are updating our ofﬁces and restrooms throughout the factory and are rebuilding our terrazzo entrance steps. While all this work is taking place in El Reloj, we are still rolling 60,000 cigars per day and are shipping thousands of packages to customers around the country each week.
Creating the American Cigar Destination
When we rededicate El Reloj and reopen it to the public in early 2020, we will unveil what will become a premier destination for cigar tourists in the United States. Our factory will be open to the public for tours. We will have three ﬂoors of exhibits and event spaces, including a new, cigar museum with a theater showing historic cigar ﬁlms. We will have a new factory store showcasing cigars from Ybor City. We will open a new handmade cigar factory on our third ﬂoor where we will roll The American and other cigars by hand. We will have a rolling school where we will teach visitors how to roll cigars and will offer classes on cigar blending and tasting. Just as wineries, distilleries, and breweries attract large crowds, we expect to welcome a thousand visitors per week to El Reloj next year. We hope that you will visit us!
Our new neighbors the Ybor Misfits are preserving the population of the indigineous chickens and roosters of Ybor City.
We are continuing to roll cigars as usual in Tampa, Florida and in Esteli, Nicaragua, but we will evaluate our operations as the situation develops.
Cigar Life, a premium cigar shop in Lakeland, Florida has openened as a J.C. Newman Diamond Crown Lounge with a great lineup of cigars.