Eric Hanson, the founder and chairman of Klin Groupe, LLC, the parent of Hammer + Sickle, has passed away.
“At Klin Groupe, we are obviously devastated at the passing of Eric Hanson, the chairman of the company, the founder of the company,” said Anthony Faletra, the company’s president, in a statement to halfwheel. “We are a very small company, so it’s a very tight-knit family. Not only did I consider Eric my boss, but he was my best friend. It’s a very trying time, but both companies will continue to grow and continue to follow the path that Eric set forward for us in so many ways.”
“We appreciated all of the condolences that have been pouring and it does show that Eric was very love in the community and we pray for him and his family at this time.”
Hanson started Klin in 2008 after working as the head of a beer distributor. Its portfolio included the Hammer + Sickle line of cigars, as well as a vodka brand by the same.
In 2010, the company brought a 3-ton piece of the actual Berlin Wall to the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in New Orleans. It was one of a host of memorable visual references to Russia the company used over the years, most recently the Museum Series packaging, which finished third on halfwheel’s packaging list that year.
During Hanson’s time the company created cigars outside of Hammer + Sickle, most notably The Caleanoch, a fire-cured cigar using Scottish peat to try to create a cigar that tastes similar to Scotch whisky.
Services for Hanson will be held later this week.