January 27, 2014 (Miami, Florida)-–On Friday, January 17th, Drew Estate Tobacco Company held a ribbon cutting ceremony at their new leaf processing facility, dubbed “DE2”. Built across the street from their La Gran Fabrica in Estelí, Nicaragua, the new facility is one of the largest, most state-of-the-art leaf processing operations in the world, specializing in dark air-cured tobaccos.

Drew Estate DE2 Inauguration 3

The opening of “DE2” is a massive step deeper into vertical integration for the sixteen-year-old company, who currently resides as the third largest premium cigar company in the United States by sales.

Drew Estate has a daily production of approximately 95,000 long filler cigars, made entirely by hand, using natural leaf and absolutely no machines or homogenized tobaccos. “DE2” provides Drew Estate with the ability to drastically increase their scale for pilone curing and bail storage, as well as provide all of the necessary professional support services in leaf sorting, classification and analysis.

Ultimately, “DE2” will make the enormous Nicaraguan operation more efficient and more profitable, but not without certain sacrifice, as the “all in cost” was over $4,000,000 USD.

When reached for comment, Drew Estate President, Michael Cellucci shared that “the cost was significant for a privately held company, but the benefits to cigar quality, leaf curing control, tobacco aging, and overall administrative organization will make it all worth it as we have a long term commitment to our premium cigar business.”

Drew Estate DE2 Inauguration 4

In addition to the leaf processing facility, Drew Estate constructed a cafeteria and medical center within the same compound, again supporting the long-term paternalistic approach that the company considers a pillar of its success.

Drew Estate was honored by the presence of the Mayor of Estelí Francisco “Pancho” Valenzuela Blandon, who both participated in the cutting of the blue and white ribbon at the ceremony. Co-Founder Marvin Samel noted that “it is the wonderful people of Estelí, Nicaragua who provide the backbone to our art, and we wanted them to have the best, most modern facility in the world. I feel that we have accomplished this goal.”

Drew Estate DE2 Inauguration 1


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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.