January 24, 2012 (Austin, TX) — Two familiar names in the cigar industry, Michael Rosales and Skip Martin, announced today the formation of a new premium cigar company, RoMa Craft Tobac. The new entity combines the operations of Rosales’ Costa Rican Imports, LLC and Martin’s Galveston Bay Tobacco, LLC into a more efficient independent company managing the Adrians, CroMagnon, CroMagnon Aquitaine, Intemperance, Thirty and Hava Cigar brands including manufacturing operations in Esteli, Nicaragua and San Jose, Costa Rica.
In 2011, Rosales and Martin worked together to build Fabrica de Tobacco NicaSueno, a 2,400sf cigar manufacturing facility in Esteli, Nicaragua. Their first joint project out of the new factory, the boutique cigar brand CroMagnon, was met by critical acclaim within the competitive premium cigar market, being named to more than a dozen Top Cigars of 2011 lists published by the industry’s increasingly influential new media contributors.
“This effective merger of our two companies formalizes a collaborative business and personal relationship that has been developing since 2010,” said Martin. “Together, we’ve been able to leverage our combined expertise and passion to pursue value innovation initiatives that neither of us was capable of executing on our own. We’ve lowered costs while at the same time increasing value for our customers, not an easy task in an industry so steeped in tradition.”
RoMa Craft Tobac will continue to utilize its direct-to-consumer retail operation, Hava Cigar Online, to launch and build new premium cigar brands, and plans to expand its wholesale distribution into the brick and mortar retail channel in 2012.
“Our retail strategy has been a big part of our success this year,” said Rosales. “Adrians Costa Rica was launched in 2007. After years on the road and a lot of effort, it is now sold by more than sixty-five retail tobacconists throughout the country. There is no substitute for an experienced, passionate and engaged tobacconist putting your cigar in their customer’s hands, but being a small brand, the traditional marketing channels for premium cigars were out of our reach. Time and again, our retailers would relay their challenges in positioning even the best cigars with limited brand recognition.”
“What we’ve done with CroMagnon flips the traditional go-to-market model on its head. With CroMagnon, we were able to build more brand loyalty and consumer engagement in a few months than Mike was able to achieve in five years out on the road, “ Martin added. “We now have tobacconists telling us that they have customers coming in and asking for our cigars, this is a classic win-win. We aren’t competing with traditional brick and mortar retailers; we are accelerating our ability to establish each brand in the market so that when they hit the shelves, the only thing the retailer has to worry about is keeping them in stock.”
In 2012, RoMa Craft Tobac will launch an extension to the CroMagnon line, two new premium cigar brands and a new flagship product for the Adrians Costa Rican line. Additionally, the company will expand on its successful wholesale tobacco distribution business and private label programs.
“Our success hinges on our ability to continuously innovate, to bring our combined passion for cigars, business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit to bear against the challenges facing our industry,” said Martin. “We are a part of a long and proud tradition of producing a handmade craft luxury product that is enjoyed by customers from every socioeconomic background who are equally passionate and increasingly interested in not only the products we produce, but the materials and processes we use to produce them. We will engage them. We will inform them. We will deliver unparalleled service and a product of only the highest quality; one that is deserving of their hard earned dollars.”