Mini Cubanos (Cigarillos) have gained respectable market share throughout the worldwide Casa del Habanos franchise system, as well as in renowned retail stores around the globe. These small , machine made cigarillos no longer stand in the shadow of Habanos premium products; due to thriving global sales they were able to flourish.
They have become especially popular with younger tobacco lovers and passionals who watch their budget and want to discover the world of fine Cuban tobacco at the same time. The Marketing specialist of International Cuban de Tabacos S.A has reason to be happy.
In 2014, a record production number of over 160 million Mini Cubans was registered, he says, Compared to the previous year, there was a 6.6 percent rise in sales. The Habanos little sister triumphs with excellent tobacco quality at an amazing price. This expanding branch of Cuban cigarillos is marketed around the world by the Cuban-Spanish joint venture Promocigar, based in Madrid.
GUANTANAMERA CIGARS BEST SELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Gonzales, also export manager for South America, is giving me a tour of the production sites at ICT in Havana. This is where the “Mecanizados” – all machine made cigars and cigarillos – have been produced for the past 15 years.
More than 80% of the 430 employees are female tobacco specialist workers. They are recruited in Boyeros district near the airport, where the ICT has its company headquarters. The finished goods are transported in huge containers from the port of Havana to Cantabria in Northern Spain. Further distribution to other European destinations is done from the city of Santander.
As Arcila Gonzales explains during the tour of the 15,000 m2 production site, The premium segment of cigarillos with brand names such as Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and Partagas is not the only booming business. Popular low price brands are also trending in the market.
It is no wonder that the brand Guantanamera became a sales sensation in the United Kingdom and Germany. Produced using tobacco from the Vuelta Arriba region – the second largest cultivation region in Pinar del Rio – this cigar guarantees a mild smoke. Even when Alejandro RObaina, the gran maestro of Cuban tobacco growers, was stricken by illness in his later years, he was allowed by his doctor to smoke Guantanamera Cigars.
THE SECRET ABOUT THE BLEND
Although a Mini Cubano is only filled with finely chopped tobacco leaves and as a machine made cigar cannot compete with the beauty of a hand rolled Habano in this sense, it shares with its big Habano sister the same special blend of 100% pure cuban tobacco.
The Mini Cubans or Cigarillos sold in special limited editions also make an impact such as 50 counts wooden box of Cohiba club cigarillos. These were available through Taylors Tobacconists 19 Bond Street Brighton, the Exclusive Habanos distributor for the United Kingdom.
As Arcila Gonzales says proudly, “We school our personnel to use a new generation of machines that assumes even more routine work in order to create a more attractive work space for our employees. Currently they are using fully automated machines to mix the blends”.
Only the wrappers are added to the cigar manually. We are working to switch the wrapping process from manual to automated, says Arcila, who has been in the cigar business for 25 years. The Mini Cubans (Cigarillos) are classified by the formats Purito, Club and Mini. The total of ten brands with 52 product lines may also call their Cubans “Puro” a Habano predicate used for pure cigars, as Arcila explains: Artificial additives such as aromas are scorned. Our cigarillo bestseller brands are the Cohiba and the Montecristo made from select tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo region in Pinar del Rio.