Drew Estate Cigars
The renaissance of cigars
The story of Drew Estate is a story of daring, heartache and success, but above all a passion for cigars and the country of Nicaragua, where we have been making cigars since 1998.
Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel are not ordinary cigar manufacturers, their story does not start in Cuba, nor with fathers in the cigar sector. It all started with a dream and thanks to their spirit of initiative and their unwavering attitude, Drew Estate has become one of the leading cigar manufacturers in the world. The two brothers brothers from New York started small…. Small, like a 16-square-foot trade booth at the World Trade Center in New York.
Back in Brooklyn, Marvin held the fort, a battered office at DUMBO, begging and borrowing from anyone who would give them a chance … parents, cousins, friends, unscrupulous characters … For about a year, the situation was grim. … But they were on something, just need more money…
In early 1999 Jonathan returned to Brooklyn with several amazing new mixes for the upcoming release of Drew Estate. It was different, even shocking, and it needed something as spectacular to launch it. Enter Scott “ACID” Chester, an emerging artist in the DUMBO scene, whose mixture of industrial, urban art, graffiti and motorcycles would make the ideal vehicle. 1998 and 1999 were crazy… fumes, an empty bank account, but little by little, we chipped… Great people came to see us and pointed us in the right direction… We could easily have outsourced our cigars, all inside, owning our own factory, making our own cigars, doing things our way, which turns out to be the most difficult path.
In 2000, we were ready for round 2 with the release of Natural by Drew Estate. The ying to yang from ACID, Natural was just as original and traditional. The launch of Natural took place on a vintage yacht crisscrossing Manhattan with invited friends and industry representatives. Natural’s seductive flavor and aroma were the perfect match for a special evening.
Contrary to popular belief, ACID was not our first brand of cigars. La Vieja Habana was. Originally released in 1998, this traditional cigar put us on the map, but when Hurricane Mitch ravaged Nicaragua, the brand was put on hold. In 2001, La Vieja Habana came back strong and proud in an elegant Art Deco form, a mixture of tropical Cuban and New York decor. The cigar, a real cigar smoker’s stick, rich tobacco, an excellent choice of capes and an unbeatable price.
In early 2001, we were making progress when Forbes magazine published an article called Cult Brands and featured us alongside brands such as Krispy Kreme, Apple & Harley Davidson! It was a great validation of the hard work that we put in and put some closure on our sites the rest of the year.
In 2002, our small factory in Esteli produced extraordinary cigars, and many of them too, like our newest infused cigar AMBROSIA Tobacco Exxotica. Everyone looked at us like we had three heads when we released it, but whatever, it was a testament to our dedication to The Rebirth of Cigars and Jonathan’s vision of the cigar subculture.
The year 2004 led us to a crossroads. Our growing business needed a change. So we packed up and left the confines of New York for fun and the Miami sun. Our move to Miami coincided with the hiring of a new president, Steve Saka. His challenge, to guide us to the next level (and to break everyone’s bottom like a drill sergeant).
On the horizon, dreams were about to come true. Jonathan’s complete vision of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. The dream started almost 10 years ago becomes reality with the construction of our new factory.
One of the most impressive cigar factories in all of Central America. Our old factory in Esteli has lived in us for almost a decade. It’s amazing to think of the millions of cigars we’ve been able to produce there. Cigars are so much more than the factory in which they are made, it’s the people who make them that make it so special. Viva Estelianos! You are the best !
We bought virgin land overlooking a valley and tobacco fields. We inaugurated the site for our factory in September 2006.
The Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, which opened in July 2007, is truly a sight to behold. With more than 100,000 m², it is the largest cigar factory in Nicaragua and one of the five largest high-end cigar factories in the world. While others have built simple and economical structures in the form of concrete blocks, we have understood the importance of making our factory special. It’s not just where we make 94,000 handmade cigars a day, but who we are and what Drew Estate means.
We invite all cigar lovers to visit and see for themselves the positive vibrations emitted by hundreds of chavetas clicking in our large living room. With an astonishing architecture, endless hand-painted murals and a bright and open working atmosphere, this factory has “seduced” all those who have had the privilege of visiting. Art is a very big part of La Gran Fabrica’s experience, with each turn of great colorful murals and intricate border paintings adorning each wall. A blend of Nicaraguan culture and brand-inspired art is painted by talented artists from Drew Estate’s Subculture Studio.
All this, and ..
We are just starting …
Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel