While many spent the Christmas holiday relaxing, Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Co. spent it moving into a bigger factory, with an eponymously named cigar as one of the first new projects to be produced.
Valladares’ new factory is the former home of Oliva Cigar Co.’s Honduran operation, a 25,000 square foot building that has sat vacant since Oliva consolidated production in Nicaragua several years ago. It’s the fourth move for Valladares, and one that he told halfwheel will not only increase production capacity, but also the amount of tobacco he can store and age.
“The storage and aging area are important to us because we support the tobacco farms in Honduras and we ensure their production in order to always keep the best tobacco in our storage rooms,” he said, adding that the move provides stability and added consistency for the cigars he produces.
Much of the growth for Valladares in 2015 was driven by the Leaf by Oscar brand, which is owned by “Island” Jim Robinson, who is also the proprietor of the Leaf and Bean stores in Pittsburgh, Pa. That cigar, originally known as the Leaf and Bean by Oscar, started as a house blend but quickly garnered attention from other retailers, and is now sold in close to 1,000 shops, according to Robinson.
Since the launch of the Leaf by Oscar, Robinson has released two additional lines, the Island Jim and Big Johnny, all of which are produced by Valladares.
Robinson said that when he and Oscar got together to create the Leaf cigar, he had a small factory with between four and eight employees; currently, that number sits at more than 100 employees in his new factory. He estimated that his cigars make up about 95% of Valladares’ production, which he pegged at about 100,000 sticks per month.
In addition to continuing to produce cigars for Robinson and other clients, Valladares will launch his own eponymous line in 2016, The Oscar, with details about the new line announced in the future.
(Image courtesy of Jim Robinson)