Tabacalera de Garcia, one of the largest artisan cigar factories in the world, has been completely rebuilt and has a new owner. Today, the facility has officially been transferred to Tabacalera Group, headquartered in Madrid, Spain.
Located in La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Tabacalera de Garcia is where non-Cuban versions of Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann and many other brands have long been rolled. The factory has been part of Britain’s Imperial Brands PLC since 2017.
Imperial sold its premium cigar division to an investment group for 1.225 billion euros (worth $1.2 billion today) in 2020, when Tabacalera de Garcia made both machine-made cigars (with brands such as Backwoods) and premium cigars. Shortly before the deal in 2020, construction began on a new facility to separate mechanized operations from the premium, culminating in Garcia’s new Tabacalera. The massive factory is a 15 million euro (about $15.3 million) facility dedicated solely to handcrafting premium cigars. Construction was just completed in July.
Despite the project and despite the change in ownership, the production of artisan cigars for Tabacalera continued uninterrupted during the construction and sale process. The building that previously served as Tabacalera de Garcia was renamed Imperial Tobacco La Romana, and is now a mechanical operation still owned by Imperial. The sprawling new building that is now Tabacalera de Garcia spans over 300,000 square feet with over 2,100 employees and the capacity for over 1,000 cigar rollers. According to Tabacalera, it has the capacity to produce 40 million handmade cigars per year.
Leaf sorters at the former Tabacalera de Garcia facility classify tobacco by size and color. (Photo/Peter Garritano)
The official transfer of the factory depended on a deferred payment of 69 million euros (approximately $70.4 million). Now that the payment has been made, the transfer was finalized today.
Fernando Domínguez, CEO of the Tabacalera Group, said: “With the entry of Tabacalera de García into the group, the factory is at the epicenter of the business due to its relevance as the art of making cigars is the very essence of the company and because it represents the most important group of people in the company”.
This transaction took two years to prepare. When Imperial divested the premium side of the business, it sold its assets in two transactions to companies belonging to the investment group. Part of the sale included 50% of Cuban monopoly Habanos SA which was acquired by Allied Cigar Corporation SL Imperial’s US division was sold for $200 million to a company named Gemstone Investment Holding Ltd. This part of the sale included Tabacalera USA and its Altadis USA assets, which is responsible for the distribution of premium cigars in the United States, online retailers JR Cigar, Serious Cigars and Cigars.com, as well as the chain of Casa de Montecristo stores. Tabacalera de Garcia, as well as the Flor de Copan factory in Honduras, were also part of the deal.
Tabacalera de Garcia produces a wide portfolio of handmade cigars, including Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, VegaFina and Onyx.