The History of Arturo Fuente: Part 1
The Cuban Revolution saw the great expansion of cigars from one small island to tobacco regions all around the world. Historic brands such as Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, and Partagas began their tales on the Caribbean island before different variations of their products were crafted outside of the country. More modern brands like Oliva, Davidoff, and Padrón also began in some way or another in Cuba before the revolution caused them to leave for greener pastures. Yet, the story of Arturo Fuente begins quite differently. Fuente is now one of the best-selling cigars in the world, with one of the most loyal fan bases in the industry. Now, while the founder of the brand was born in Cuba, the brand itself was in fact brought to life right here in the USA.
Arturo Fuente was born in Güines, Cuba, in 1888. Following the Spanish- American War, 12-year-old Arturo left his home and emigrated to the United States, settling in Tampa, Florida. Arturo saw the need for fresh, hand-rolled cigars in his community and started importing Cuban tobacco and rolling them himself. As his cigars rose in popularity, he hired workers and established his own three-story factory in 1912: A. Fuente & Co.
While cigars had become widely popular in the area, which was home to about 200 other cigar operations, smokers could tell there was something special about the Fuente brand. By 1924, the company employed 500 workers, yet production was stopped that same year when the first of many tragedies struck—a fire that destroyed the building and forced Arturo to close up shop.
Due to the Great Depression and America’s entry into World War II, Fuente could not restart production until 1946. By then, Arturo had become a family man and welcomed his two sons into his business. One of these sons—Carlos—began sweeping the floors and helping out with odd jobs at night, while he and his wife also worked as bakers during the day to make ends meet. It would be Carlos who eventually took the Fuente company to heights that no one could have foreseen.
Now, until this time, Fuente was based in Tampa and rolled its cigars with Cuban tobacco. But let’s fast-forward to the 1960s, when a big change would catapult the company to greatness…