25th Anniversary of Gesinta: A Party with Friends

Gesinta, owner of Condega and Umnum, celebrated its 25th anniversary at the headquarters of the Tobacco Academy, in Chella, Valencia, with a simple party among friends.

Far from solemnity, and from any marketing artifice, the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Gesinta, company owner of Condega and Umnum cigars, consisted in a simple and amusing birthday party. There was no photocall, no show, nor any of the promotional resources that are often used at tobacco events. Ramón Zapata, president and founder of the company, gathered around him a hundred relatives and friends, including employees, summoned them at the headquarters of the Tobacco Academy, in Chella, Valencia (Spain), offered an profuse cocktail, distributed generous supply of cigars and washed it all down with excellent Spanish wine so that his guests will simply have a good time.

The only slightly more formal part of the celebration happened as soon as the party began, the moment when Zapata, armed with a microphone and a Power Point presentation with no logos, nor slogans nor sales information, only personal pictures (as in any birthday party) made a brief and emotional summary of the twenty-five years of Gesinta’s life.

“I’m going to do something,” said Ramón Zapata, “that I don’t usually like doing in public: I’m going to get naked” and, image by image, he showed the path traveled, sharing thanks among friends, partners and collaborators, many of them present at the party. “I always wanted to be a businessman”, he started talking before a picture of himself twenty-five years ago, “to be free and owner of my decisions”. Thus began a story of entrepreneurship that has led Gesinta to be the fifth largest tobacco company in the market in Spain: “That is to say,” he joked, “if we take away the four large multinationals,” referring to Philip Morris, Imperial, BAT and JTI, “we are the market leaders”.

Today Gesinta, apart from Condega and Umnum, is a company that has more than 500 employees, and operates in the global tobacco market, not only in premium cigars, but also in other tobacco products, as well as logistics, distribution, import and export to more than 40 countries. It is a story of triumph, without a doubt, and this is how Ramón Zapata wanted to present it, assuring that success is like an iceberg: you only see the ninth part that rises above sea level “beneath the surface, there is the part that nobody seems to see: effort , hard work, risk, perseverance, discipline, sacrifice and, of course, failures, but if there is something I have learned in these years, it is that you always have to surround yourself with people better than you. That’s what I’ve tried to do: have the best by my side”.

Immediately afterwards, José María Palacios, CEO of the Gesinta distributor, Casa del Tabaco, and a trusted man of Ramón Zapata, took the microphone to extol the figure of Ramón Zapata as a modern businessman with a vision of the future: “Since La Casa del Tabaco began its operations in 2015, there were four years of losses and only in the fifth it started to offer benefits. Ramón Zapata has obtained not a Little revenue from the company, he has reinvested everything in the Casa del Tabaco or dedicated it, as he promised he would do, in social comprimise charities”.

At the end of the speeches, Sasja Van Horssen, from Cigaragua, present at the party, took the word to tell Ramón Zapata “the only reason I’m here is you, because we are the same” and immediately gave him the a gift, as in any good birthday party: a case of six bottles of Chateau Giscours Margaux, a Bordeaux grand cru, which also sums up twenty-five years of the Bordeaux winery, vintages from 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015 .

Javier Blanco Urgoiti is a Spanish journalist who is crazy about the processes surrounding tobacco that take place before its manufacturing in the cigar factory – in particular the secrets of tobacco cultivation. This is an area in which he tirelessly tries to educate himself. Javier started smoking and writing about cigars in 1998, initially for the Spanish magazines La boutique del fumador and La cava de cigarros, and later, as chief press officer at La Aurora, the oldest tobacco factory in the Dominican Republic. Now he writes for Cigar Journal as a correspondent in Spain.


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