Written by Frank T Flores III

Friday, 17 April 2009

User Rating: / 52

erik espinosaprofiles
rolling and growing


Born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Miami from the age of 3 months old, 42-year-old Erik Espinosa inherited his great passion for cigars from his father. He has been smoking cigars for 24 years, and has been in the business for 12, working his way up from the local cigar shops to now being one half owner of E.O. Brands/United Tobacco. Working with Eddie Ortega, the two have produced such great cigars as the 601 and the new Cubao, along with great value lines like the Panama Red and REO.



Of course there is much more to Erik than cigars. Another passion inherited from his father is for playing cards, especially poker. As Erik likes to say, “It’s a great thing . . . as long as you’re winning.” His third great love is baseball. We get into a little of that towards the end of the interview.


He has passed along his love of cigars to his 17-year-old son who is now himself working in a cigar shop. Erik wants him to learn that being street smart and working hard will get you where you need to be in life. “Education, knowledge, and street wise can all help you succeed a lot better in business and life. Helps you from getting scammed.” What better way to teach this valuable lesson than by hustling his own son at an early age! When the boy was younger, Erik would play pool with him and let him think he was winning. Then they would play for quarters. Once money was at stake, Erik would clean the table with him. Now the boy would know what it meant to be hustled--a well learned life lesson.


I want to thank Erik: it was an honor getting to meet him20and share a smoke with him at a local event earlier this year and then sitting down with him for this interview. He is full of great stories, some a little more colorful than others, and you could spend hours just listening to him. I learned a lot from talking with him, and it was honestly one of the best times I have ever had talking cigars with anybody. He is truly a great guy, and now I get to call him “friend.” Thanks, Erik!




0 # Mi Barrio, 601 and Cubao are, for me, amoung the best cigars out there.Ana and Miguel 2009-04-27 09:29
Love the whole interview plus the cigars from United tobacco and Erick and Eddie. Keep going guys putting a Yough Flavor to the industry. I also love your poster....

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0 # Well said!Stephen Parks 2009-09-13 06:38
Great interview and you touched on something I've been saying throughout the SCHIP pursecution, to fellow cigar smokers AND politicians.

I wasn't against SCHIP, at least not the cause which would supposedly benefit from the tax. But, with such an important cause, why should cigar smokers carry the brunt of the burden. With such a worthy cause, why shouldn't much more funds be raised and shared among some of the industries that actually contribute to the problem?

A smaller tax spread out among the fast food and high fructose beverage industries would have made much more sense. These are industries that are not only contributing to the health problems in children, but they are also allowed to specifically target a child audience with packaging and advertising. When's the last time you saw fine, hand-rolled cigars target a child audience?

Yet another stupendous act against our freedoms that we have allowed are government to infringe upon.

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0 # Great Article= 2009-12-18 02:37
I really enjoyed Eric's views and opinions! there's nothing like a man who
speaks his mind!This article also gave me a greater level of respect for
Jose Pepin!

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0 # I congratulateJoswar 2012-05-29 22:31
Congratulations on your success Erik. Tobacco Jewel of Estelí

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