There is a new face of General Cigar Co.’s Cohiba brand, as the company has announced that it has hired Sean Williams as the brand’s ambassador.

Williams is best known as the founder of El Primer Mundo Cigar Company, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016 and last month announced the launch of a new version of the El Primer Mundo Larceny, this time made in Nicaragua at the Best Cigars S.A. factory, in which Williams is a partner.

“We have brought Sean on board as part of the continued expansion of our experiential platforms,” said General Cigar’s president Régis Broersma, via a press release. “Our focus is on deepening retailer and consumer engagement around this pivotal brand in our portfolio. With Sean, we are gaining a passionate cigar maker who is also a connoisseur of the finer things in life. We are confident he will make great strides in further aligning Cohiba with luxury lifestyle activations.”

In a press release, General Cigar Co. said that Williams will “bring the Cohiba brand to life at in-store events held at premier cigar shops across the U.S, and will activate the brand at an array of luxury venues across the country.”

Williams told halfwheel that he was honored to be thought of by General Cigar Co. for the position.

“When you have the largest premium cigar company deciding how they want to move forward with one of the most iconic brands in the world and they decide to call you, it’s an honor,” Williams said. He added that while it is tough to step away from the company he founded, knowing that it will be in the good hands of a friend and business partner was reassuring, and the opportunity to bring everything that he has learned over the past decade and apply it to the Cohiba brand made sense for where he is in his professional career.

While Williams will no longer be the face of El Primer Mundo, the brand will not be going away, as he is turning over the operations of the company to his partner and longtime friend, Will Bolling, who coincidentally just recently retired from the U.S. Air Force. Bolling will take over what Williams described as the “heavy lifting” parts of the company, while distribution will be handled by Best Cigars USA. El Primer Mundo’s cigars will continue to be made at Best Cigars S.A. in Nicaragua.

“It all came together in the perfect way,” Williams noted.

Cohiba recently launched a new line called the Cohiba Blue, a line that draws primarily on Honduran tobacco and is being called “an approachable, everyday cigar that will bring consumers into the Cohiba franchise at an affordable price point.” The new line is priced between $9 and $11 per cigar and began arriving at retailers in April.

Williams began his new role as of May 1, and joins an expanding team of brand ambassadors that includes Rick Rodriguez for CAO, Jack Toraño for Toraño Cigar, and Justin Andrews for Foundry Tobacco Company. He will report to Gus Martinez, director of marketing, and will be based in Atlanta, though will be spending a good portion of the near future at General Cigar Co.’s factory in the Dominican Republic meeting with the team that produces Cohiba cigars and becoming versed on all aspects of the brand.

During his decade at the helm of El Primer Mundo, Williams released a number of well-regarded cigars and gained distribution across the United States as well as into southeast Asia, Australia and Russia.

Image courtesy of General Cigar Co.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.