This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Manolo Quesada, whose family has been in the cigar business for five generations. After the turmoil in Cuba in 1960, Manolo’s father Manuel moved the family tobacco business to the Dominican Republic. Established in the free trade zone of Santiago in 1974, the cigar factory MATASA (Manufactura de Tabacos, S.A., today Quesada Cigars) grew steadily under Manolo’s leadership, producing its own brands and commissioned products. After Manuel Quesada Senior’s death in 1998 and a tragic plane accident in 2002 that claimed the lives of Manolo’s brother and nephew as well as his right-hand man, Julio Fajardo, the next generation took the helm, led by Manolo’s daughter Raquel Quesada.
Today, Raquel and her sister Patricia, as well as many of Manolo’s nieces and nephews, are active in the family business. Manolo’s career was shaped by tragedy and difficult decisions. But the resulting orientation toward sustainable growth and an unmitigated commitment to quality has helped the Quesada brand establish a name for itself that is synonymous with reliability, consistency and quality at the highest level. Consumers and industry insiders alike have the utmost respect for Quesada – the man and the brand.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Winter Edition 2016. Read more