Jonathan Drew, Marvin Samel, Willy Herrera & Michael Cellucci on Drew Estate’s Sale to Swisher


As part of the announcement regarding Swisher International’s acquisition of Drew Estate, halfwheel was able to get statements from four members of the company’s executive team. Some of the quotes were used in our story regarding the deal, but we figured we would share with you each of their complete statements, unedited.

Jonathan Drew, co-founder of Drew Estate:


“Fuck Making The List, Make The Legacy” is a fundamental business approach that should be taught at Wharton Business school in the first year curriculum.

Dive a bit deeper into the meaning of my ragged little slogan and see that it’s the vision of “Rebirth” – embracing creativity, passion, and wisdom to combine thoughts, develop innovation and ultimately change the game.

Our new relationship with Swisher International is exciting to me because it’s a game changer. It’s a blended approach that embraces forward philosophy, motion, and time. On a deeply personal level, this decision allows me, as an artist, to reject stress and focus solely on passion.

Drew Estate remains fully committed to the premium cigar industry and have demonstrated this from day one. I love the culture and have stood shoulder to shoulder with the industry’s complete, total, core – both traditional and boutique, in the US, Central, and South America, at every single level of the ecosystem.

The goal for Drew Estate is to continue pushing the boundaries of our passion for premium cigars. We are tobacco men, committed to the premium tobacco industry and culture – and always will be.

In closing, I would like to respond to a question my mother had asked me yesterday. “Are you happy?” “The answer is yes, we are selling our company, but not selling out,” I responded. She told me that she loves me and is proud of us. That’s good enough for me.” 

Marvin Samel, co-founder of Drew Estate:

On Saturday night I was having a drink and a cigar, telling my wife Netta some of the crazy stories of the early years of Drew Estate. I began with how some of our friends and families made tremendous sacrifices and risks to help us get started. From our days as Fraternity Brothers, to opening our first Kiosk in the World Trade Center Mall, to where we are today, it’s been a dream. To those of you who have sacrificed to make this all happen, whether you are consumers, retailers, employers, employees, suppliers, and especially our families, thank you for believing in us. The Company has sold, but our ethos, the Rebirth of Cigars is not for sale at any price. Jonathan, Michael Cellucci, and I are going to lead this company into a new era where the best of who we are, and what we represent will continue as it has for the last 19 years. In fact we’re just getting started.

Icons of Cigars™  Willy Herrera of Drew Estate

Willy Herrera, master blender at Drew Estate:

I joined Drew Estate in 2011 because of their commitment to premium cigars. While most cigar companies would have expected me to to bring a product to market within months, DE took a different approach.

Instead, we decided together that I should live in Nicaragua for well over a year, submerge myself in the culture of Esteli, work on my blends, and take the time to truly understand the factory and the personalities involved at the production and fermentation levels. That’s commitment right there. Nothing short of commitment.

I can attest that Drew Estate takes a long range view to everything we do. Our new relationship Swisher International will demonstrate the fundamental commitment to premium cigars, as Drew Estate’s resources will become that much stronger.

Michael Cellucci, president of Drew Estate:

We are very excited to be joining forces with Swisher international. This is one of those deals that just seemed to work out perfectly. It is not the kind of deal that you hear about all too often, the kind that puts people and families out of work, or rips the soul out of a passionately run company. It was important to us that our employees, who are the heart and soul of our company were protected, and the culture that is Drew Estate was not compromised. This is something Peter recognized immediately.

This purchase affords Drew Estate the necessary resources to get to the next level in an ever tightening competitive market, while staying true to all the things that got us to where we are now – the culture, the people, and the products.

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About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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