After a devastating fire in late September that destroyed Tabacalera William Ventura’s primary factory, the company has announced that it has broken ground on its new factory, as well as resumed production at its smaller El Maestro factory.

The new factory will be located approximately 200 yards from the previous factory, still within the Zona Franca La Palma free trade zone in Tamboril, Dominican Republic. It will be bigger than the previous factory, with two full operating levels and the capacity for almost 200 rollers, as well as an aging room that can hold two million cigars. Construction on the new factory is expected to be completed by September 2024.

The company has also resumed production of cigars at its smaller El Maestro factory, a smaller facility that has been used for boutique projects with less production than a regular, full release line. Because the company did not store its tobacco reserves in the destroyed factory, it was easier to resume production at the smaller facility. The company received the permit to operate at El Maestro on Friday, which allowed for production to resume today.

In terms of getting cigars to retailers and ultimately consumers, the company has re-ordered the non-cigar components such as boxes, bands, labels and other products to be ready to go when the cigars are produced. The orders that have been delayed since the fire are now scheduled to begin shipping in mid-February, which the company hopes will give it some breathing room ahead of the 2023 Total Products Expo (TPE) trade show that happens Feb. 22-24, 2023 in Las Vegas.

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 the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.