From the 1920s into the 1970s, Rinn & Cloos AG was Germany’s largest manufacturer of cigars, cigarillos and tobacco products, at times employing over 5000 people. Almost 100 years after it was founded, the business was sold, a consequence of the dramatic decline on the German cigar market. This was not a move made lightly by Steffen Ring, a grandson of the company founder and at the time production manager and member of the executive board. A sad end, one might think, but in fact it was the start of a successful new enterprise.
Convinced of a revival of the cigar as an epicurean enjoyment, Steffen Ring founded the cigar production business “ Don Stefano” ( a reference to his name) only two years later. His aims were clear: “ I wanted to find a niche in the market and establish myself there.
My intention was to produce cigars that are pleasantly smooth in flavour and have plenty of character – like a fine meal in France”. The tobacco expert achieved these objectives for his Don Stefano brand and the many private labels he produces, thanks to, among other things, finely adjusted tobacco mixtures with top-class leaves from Sumatra, Java, Bahia, Cuba.
Steffen Rinn’s business also imports long fillers by Perdomo (Nicaragua), Tabacos Don Esteban ( Dominican Republic) and Brun del Re’ ( Costa Rica) to Germany, as well as marketing top-quality rums, whisky, tequila and liqueurs. While company founder Steffen Ring attends one cigar event after another as brand ambassador, Matthias Rinn and Marco Peter deal with marketing and admin. Don Stefano is the only surviving cigar market in Hessen.