December 2023

In the early morning hours of September 22, 2022, the cigar community received news of a fire in Tamboril, Dominican Republic, resulting in the complete destruction of Tabacalera William Ventura. This factory was renowned for producing various well-known brands and served as the base for ADV & McKay Cigars Co., a growing venture led by Henderson Ventura and Marcel Knobel.

As the rebuilding process of Tabacalera William Ventura progresses, scheduled for completion by year-end, Ventura and Knobel have disclosed the establishment of a new factory exclusively dedicated to their brand. Named Mina del Rey, meaning Mine of the King, both the factory and the company’s tobacco facility are situated in Tamboril, merely five minutes away from the former Tabacalera William Ventura. Coincidentally, the new facility stands on Calle Ventura, or Ventura Street, within the region of Henderson’s father’s family origin.

Ventura shared that the decision to create a dedicated factory for ADV & McKay was made on June 21, with operations commencing on August 18. Expressing confidence in this transition, he believes that the move to a new facility will propel the company to a higher level of cigar quality.

Currently operating at approximately 60 percent capacity, producing around 600,000 cigars annually, the facility has the potential to reach one million cigars per year as it expands its workforce. The goal is to increase the number of cigar-producing pairs from six to nine by the end of 2023, along with eight additional employees in various roles.

The aging room can presently accommodate about one million cigars, aiming for a resting period of five to six months before release, surpassing the typical industry standard.

Already yielding over 40,000 cigars for the ADVentura The Royal Return Queen’s Pearls line, the factory has also produced the La Llorona Corona. Recent focus has been on The Royal Return King’s Gold line, with the entire portfolio now originating from the new factory.

By relocating ADV & McKay to its dedicated facility, Ventura emphasized the newfound freedom to explore exclusive projects, unique sizes, small batch blends, and collaborations. However, he clarified that the company does not intend to engage in private label projects or produce cigars for other brands.

Knobel added that as ADV & McKay expanded, accommodating their capacity and flexibility needs became challenging for Tabacalera William Ventura. The new facility not only provides more control in these aspects but also brings them closer to decisions regarding quality control and other facets of the cigar-making process.

Ventura highlighted that all rollers at Mina del Rey are on salaries, fostering a focus on hiring individuals new to cigar making. This approach allows for comprehensive training in desired production methods.

Furthermore, the factory incorporates wider rolling tables for worker comfort and the accommodation of blends with various filler tobaccos. This enables more accurate bunching of cigars, ensuring better profile consistency in the final product. Bunched cigars remain in moulds for 24 hours before wrappers are added, emphasizing a careful production pace.

The facility also implements sustainability initiatives, such as reusable fabric wraps for cigar bundles, and prioritizes worker health with measures like hand sanitizer use. Reclaimed wood from other local factories adorns several doors in the facility.

Ventura expressed his excitement about the new factory, likening the experience to emerging from a metaphorical year-long confinement.

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