Update on Arturo Fuente Nicaragua. Last weekend the Malaysian cigar importer and tobacconist Ray Ooi hosted a Zoom session. The special guest of the session was no other than Jose Blanco, whom we interviewed recently. More high profile people from Fuente joined the zoom. First Jeremiah Meerapfel and even Carlos Carlito Fuente Jr made an appearance. That allowed Ministry of Cigars to ask a few questions. The question specifically about the Fuente Nicaragua project.
La Bella y La Bestia
In January of 2018, Fuente announced plans to open a factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The name of the factory will be Gran Fabrica de Tabacos La Bella y La Bestia, the beauty and the beast. Carlito Fuente said “I’m very grateful to Nicaragua and the people of Nicaragua. I’m back in Nicaragua. Carlito’s back. This factory is just putting my heart, planting my flag here in Estelí.” And with back, Fuente really means back as Arturo Fuente made cigars in Nicaragua in the 1970s.
The factory is built on a plot of land that the Fuente family bought years ago. The design is in colonial style. But ever since then there is no news on the project. During the Zoom, Carlito explained why. The project is postponed, at first because of the social unrest that spiked after the Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega inspired. And when that social unrest calmed down, the covid-19 pandemic hit the world. But Fuente is still moving forward with the project.
Mahogany and crops
Right now, Fuente is growing tobacco in Nicaragua. The 5th crop in 6 years. All the tobacco is aging for the inaugural cigar that Fuente will be making once the factory is up and running. The land where the factory will arise is cleared. The Fuente family needed a special license for that because of the mahogany trees growing on the plot The trees are taken down and the wood is used for the boxes of the inaugural release. Carlito Fuente says that “there is a significance there, the wood comes from the plot of the factory. We are using the first Nicaraguan tobacco we are growing.”
Fuente expects that the building will commence either late this year or early next year. Carlito Fuente explains why going back to Nicaragua means so much to him. “I think of my father so much because this is my father’s dream to come back. I’m coming here with my heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears because of my colleagues, my family, and friends.”
Cigar Family Charitable Foundation
With the arrival of Fuente in Nicaragua, the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation will arrive as well. The charity is a project of J.C. Newman and Tabacalera Arturo Fuente. The CFCF is responsible for the education of many children in the Dominican Republic and pays for sports accommodations, healthcare, nutrition amongst other things. Ministry of Cigars wrote about the CFCF in the series on Cigar Charities.