Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 10 September 2007

User Rating: / 1

a visit to torano cigarscarlos torano
Rob Shibata visits Torano Cigars in Miami. While in Miami, we visited the Central American Tobacco offices (aka Torano Cigars) in Miami. The Torano headquarters consists of an office and warehouse space that total about 10,000 sq.ft. Outside the U.S., the company’s operations are much larger. They have two factories in Nicaragua and one in Honduras. Combined they employ over 1500 people in tobacco production, processing, and cigar making. In addition to the seven premium and two bundle lines of Torano cigars, they make cigars for several other well known brands. We tried to see Charlie Torano to get updated on the company but he was not available. So we met instead with Aaron Guenther, the new Director of Marketing. As we talked with Aaron in his office, we smoked Casa Torano churchills which I would characterize as a pleasant, medium bodied, flavorful smoke with good construction and a reasonable price point. “Carlos is the cigar guy and Charlie is the business guy.” Aaron told us. “Charlie is an attorney by training but decided to join the family business to continue its legacy.” “So why does Torano Cigars hire a marketing guy?” we asked. Companies usually hire marketing guys either when they are in trouble or are doing well. For Torano we think it is the latter which Aaron confirmed by the end of our conversation. “As you can understand, Charlie is really busy with the daily and long term objectives of the company. He didn’t think the message about the company heritage and cigars was getting to the consumers effectively. So he hired me to communicate the message about our company and cigars to the consumers.” “So what is the message?” we asked. “The message is that Torano produces quality cigars at reasonable prices. We aren’t in the business of producing cigars just to be hip or trendy. Whether the cigar is a Casa Torano or a Noventa, the cigar will be a good value for the price. We want consumers to know that they can count on our cigars for consistent quality year in and year out. That is how we will strengthen our brand.” That’s quite a message. On the product side, Carlos remains to be the man, the master blender for all 9 lines of Torano cigars. “We throw our seconds away, we don’t want to dilute our brand by pushing seconds into the market. We want to build our business with our number one grade products.” They must be succeeding because Aaron went on to tell us about the new factory they are building in Nicaragua that is several times larger than their existing facilities. As of this writing, their top selling cigar was the 1959 Exodus Gold. The number two selling cigar was a surprise, the Casa Torano. This is the “house blend” that the Torano family and staff smokes. Apparently there are a lot of cigar smokers who agree with the Torano’s venerable palates. The super premium Noventa was launched in November and may be the best cigar the Toranos have ever produced. We bought a box of torpedos from Sabor Havana in Miami to try them out. The cigars are beautiful with a tan, creamy smooth wrapper. The draw and construction are excellent and the taste is a medium bodied mix of well balanced complex flavors. The company turned 90 last year and is already putting away tobacco for their 100th birthday. “We’re in it for the long term” Aaron said. “Charlie is not interested in just sales volume growth, he’s looking at building a legacy of quality tobacco products for the next 100 years.” Aside from their sizable booth at the RTDA convention, the Toranos go about their business with an understated, low key approach. We will watch with interest to see how the visibility of the company changes as the Torano message get out.

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