steffen rinn don stefano portrait with grandfather

Steffen Rinn: Hessen’s last Cigar Maker

From the 1920s into the 1970s, Rinn & Cloos AG (founded in 1895 in Heuchelheim in the state of Hessen) was Germany’s largest manufacturer of cigars, cigarillos and tobacco products, at times employing over 5,000 people.

Almost 100 years after it was founded, the business was sold, a consequence of the dramatic decline on the German cigar market. This was not a move made lightly for Steffen Rinn, a grandson of the company founder and at the time production manager and member of the executive board. A sad end, one might think, but in fact it was the start of a successful new enterprise.

My intention was to produce cigars that are pleasantly smooth in flavor and have plenty of character.

Convinced of a revival of the cigar as an epicurean enjoyment, Steffen Rinn founded the cigar production business “Don Stefano” (a reference to his first name) only two years later.

His aims were clear: “I wanted to find a niche in the market and establish myself there. My intention was to produce cigars that are pleasantly smooth in flavor and have plenty of character – like a fine meal in France.”

don stefano lydia schneider rolling perfeccion cigars

Photo: ddp/Thomas Lohnes

The tobacco expert achieved these objectives for his Don Stefano brand and the many private labels he produces, thanks to, among other things, finely adjusted tobacco mixtures with top-class leaves from Sumatra, Java, Bahia and Cuba.

Steffen Rinn’s business also imports longfillers by Perdomo (Nicaragua), Tabacos Don Esteban and PDR (Dom. Rep.), and Brun del Ré (Costa Rica) to Germany, as well as marketing top-quality rums and liqueurs. While company founder Steffen Rinn attends one cigar event after another as brand ambassador, Matthias Rinn and Marco Peter deal with marketing and admin. Don Stefano is the only surviving cigar maker in Hessen.


To celebrate the first 20 years, the company is producing
a Grand Royal series comprising three cigars:

Grand Royal Toro
(Longfiller, made by Perdomo); EUR 7.90

Grand Royal Perfecto
by Don Stefano; EUR 3.20

Grand Royal Chico
Cigarillo range, pack of 18; EUR 22.50

Don Stefano Zigarrenmanufaktur GmbH


This article was published in the Cigar Journal Spring Edition 2014. Read more

She learned her journalistic skills from scratch at a regional daily newspaper, for which she wrote articles for many years. Through working for the magazine Der Spiegel in Rome she had the opportunity to increase her professional knowledge in the field of media. Katja studied art history and Romance studies in Heidelberg, Palermo and Rome and, during the course of her studies, spent many years in Italy. The country was her teacher in things related to pleasure and lifestyle. She has been working for Cigar Journal since 2004. In 2010 she became editor-in-chief.


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