Caribbean Cigar Makers Turn to the European and Chinese Markets

  • Specialty cigars being sold in Europe and Asia instead of U.S.
  • China set to overtake U.S. as world’s biggest cigar consumer

Radhames Rodriguez is using a rare tobacco and special wrapper to roll 50,000 of his new premium cigars, the Pulita, in the Dominican Republic. U.S. aficionados shouldn’t get their hopes up though — the limited-edition cigar won’t be on sale anywhere near them.

Named after Rodriguez’s grandfather, who started the business sixty years ago, the Pulita will only be marketed in Europe. That’s because Rodriguez can’t face the headache and cost of complying with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new tobacco regulations.

“It just costs too much and takes too much time,” said Rodriguez, vice president of Tabacalera El Artista. “We’re going to focus on the German and Italian markets instead.”

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