Visiting Estelí’s Small Cigar Factories

Estelí in Nicaragua is made up of much more than just big cigar factories. Parallel to Joya de Nicaragua, Drew Estate, Plasencia and AJ Fernandez a myriad of smaller factories operate throughout the city, in everything from town houses to backyards. And they all seem to look ahead with a sense of prosperity.


From the outside you would never guess that Esteban Disla’s home until recently doubled as a cigar factory that produced high-quality cigars, but it did. Like many other houses around Estelí. The brands Intemperance, CroMagnon and Aquitaine were being made there at Fábrica de Tabaccos Nica Sueño for the US market. Last year, however, Disla finally moved his operation to a factory. And the expansion will continue.

tabacalera flor de san luis factory cigar roller

Photo: Simon Lundh

“When the factory was in the house we produced about 300 cigars per day,” Disla says. “Today we’re producing 2,200 cigars per day, but the goal is to start exporting to Europe and produce 5,000 cigars per day.”

Other companies of similar size, like Ariel Cigar, which produces Alfambra for the European market also see a bright future for their companies. The fact that big factories like AJ Fernandez and Drew Estate have expanded is only good for the smaller businesses, according to Carlos Pereda of Tabacalera Flor de San Luis, who makes Elogio, Flor de San Luis and PIO VI for the US market.

esteli cigars building small factory side view

Photo: Simon Lundh

“I think it’s good, since one day I might expand as well,” Pereda says. “And it hasn’t made any difference to me. I have my customers and they’re reliable.”

While some of the companies supply a market in general, there are also factories that make cigars for just one or two retailers, like Agro Cigar Company S.A., owned and run by Tesa Cigar Company in Chicago.

“We make cigars for two shops in Chicago with the same name as the company, for instance, Cabinet 312, Shaman, Reserva Real, Vintage and M³,” explains Maritza Miranda Molina, general manager at the factory.

Among a number of other small factories in Estelí you can also find, for example, La Zona, which produces Espinosa, La Zona, Murcielago and La Jugada for the US market; American Caribbean Cigars S.A., which supplies the United States with brands like Master, Master Maduro Toraño, Red Witch, Salutem, Casa Toraño, Esencia, Havanasu, Nostalgia, Arrington and Reserva Selecta Toraño; and Estelí Cigars, which makes Kiki Café, Demonio Rojo, Paul Stulac and Cuban Crafters for Europe and the United States.


This article was published in the Cigar Journal Autumn Edition 2015. Read more

Since graduating with an engineering degree in surveying in 2005, Simon Lundh has preferred to follow a profession in journalism. He stumbled upon the cigar world while working for a non-governmental organization in Estelí, Nicaragua, and is now mainly making a living writing about cigars, metal music, tattoos, and travel.


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