Big Smoke = Big Names in the Cigar Business
Written by Kevin Godbee

Thursday, 20 November 2008

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the big smoke

The Padron's

Jose and Jorge Padron kicked off the first seminar with Jorge translating. Jose Padron started off by saying, "I apologize that I am a man of the jungle, but I thought it was more important to make cigars than to learn English. That way I could bring a lot of pleasure to others."

His statement was met with resounding applause.

Here are a few more excerpts from Jose Orlando Padron, translated by Jorge Padron.

"He'd like to thank all of you for having learned so much about cigars and also cigar tobacco. He remembers being back in ’64, when you know the cigar consumption was completely different. It was a total different marketplace. Many people were looking for mild cigars instead of the more full-bodied cigars like now. Obviously that's changed tremendously over the years, due to large parts of the knowledge that all of you have gained from cigar publications and the information that has been accessible."

"There is more knowledge of cigars and more good cigars to smoke than ever before, but the cigar industry is entering a very difficult time also. With all the petitions that we have, our right to smoke is being taken away. But there will always be cigar stores especially when you make quality products."

"We were never interested in making millions and millions of cigars. We are interested in making 5 or 6 million cigars a year and making the best possible for the price and quality." (Large applause).

We heard an interesting story when an audience member asked, "What was your father's most difficult challenge?" First he got a round of laughter when he abruptly answered, "Not having any money!"

Then we heard of Jose Padron's humble and difficult beginnings.

One big challenge: At the beginning, making 200 cigars a day and then having to sell them at night. And he would sell them. He started in Miami and started with one cigar, it was called the the Fuma, which sold for 30 cents apiece or $6 a box. He couldn't pay for his help, so he had to make the cigars himself during the day and then sell them himself at night. At that time the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco was very strict. And he worried that he would not be able to make his cigars if he didn't get his permit. In order for him to get the permit, he had to have an actual space that he rented to sell and manufacture cigars.  He had to rent the place first and ended up paying rent for 6 months waiting for the permit with no production going on. So, all those months between, he wasn't making any money. The only money that he could make was the money he was making at working carpentry, which is a summer thing.

Now we both are very proud to be hearing lots of compliments from many of you last night and hopefully tonight of how happy you are with our cigars and it's what satisfies him the most.

One of my favorite comments from Jose Padron was, "Remember you have to stroke the tobacco when you handle it, because the tobacco is like a woman and it responds to good treatment."

For kicks, I asked him to repeat that to my Cuban Girlfriend, Laura, after the seminar. They ended up talking at length, as Jose only speaks Spanish, and they are both Cuban. Jorge Padron warned me, "You will never get him away from her now", as we laughed.


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