The History of Swisher Cigars

November 1, 2015

The famous Swisher brand began in 1861 when David Swisher, a merchant out of Newark Ohio, received a small cigar business as part of a debt settlement. By 1870, the brand really took off with hundreds of cigars rolled daily in a one-room factory. The company continued to grow at an astronomical rate, and David, now in his golden years, realized it was time for some fresh blood to take over the reins. Wanting to keep this a family business, in 1888, he sold the company to his capable sons, Harry and John H. Swisher who learned the business from the ground up at a very young age working alongside their dad. The company was re-named Swisher Brothers. It turned out to be an excellent decision, because by 1895, under the leadership of these ambitious, and entrepreneurial young men, the company now had three factories, employing over 1,000 people, and producing as many as 300,000 cigars daily. In 1913, John buys out his brother Harry’s half of the company and brings on his own son Carl to assist, and the new marque Swisher & Son is established.

In 1924, Carl selects Jacksonville, Florida as the new site headquarters. It was also the year that Swisher revolutionized the cigar industry. In this large facility, the men purchase rolling machines, to mass-produce cigars that are superior in uniformity, appearance, and quality. Swisher then became the first to wrap individual cigars in cellophane, and the first to come up with a simple device for removing the cellophane by pulling the cigar band.

Swisher & Son began to become so popular among cigar smokers that by 1930, during the darkest days of the depression, and at a time when most companies are either closing or drastically downsizing Swisher hired hundreds. Swisher’s hiring record earned the company Forbes magazine’s certificate of merit for having had “the vision, courage, and faith in America’s future to make large investments in the face of depression problems”.

The juggernaut continued. From the years 1940 to 1942, the Jacksonville plant is now the largest cigar factory in the world under one roof, and numerous other facilities in the area are opened for handling, processing, storing, and shipping the huge quantities of tobacco needed to keep up with demand. During this period, Swisher’s King Edward becomes the world’s bestselling cigar.

In 1958, Swisher & Sons introduces the Swisher Sweets brand cigar, which to this day, remains extremely popular.

By 1964, the company makes an astronomical four million cigars per day and ships to all fifty states and forty-seven countries.

By 1992, these top-quality cigars are circling the globe, so the company changes its name from H. Swisher & Sons, to Swisher International. More than seventy different countries are now selling this brand.

The biggest acquisition came in 2014, when Swisher International acquired Miami-based Drew Estate Tobacco Company. Drew Estate’s Co-Founders, Jonathan Drew, and Marvin Samel, along with thousands of employees are now part of the ever-expanding Swisher team.

Today the company is bigger and better than ever, offering the everyday smoker the same great machine made cigars that they have been producing for many decades.


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