May 2019

What is Habanos? A lot of people are under the impression that Habanos is all and everything Cuban cigars. But that is not the case. Cubatabaco is all about tobacco growing. Tabacuba handles the cigar production. Habanos is all about distribution and sales.


In July 1953, the Cuban revolution started. Under the leadership of Fidel Castro’s paramilitary organization, the fight against dictator Batista started. And it was won. December 31st, 1958 Batista was ousted. Cuba became a socialist state. That was when the Castro clan started to nationalize all the tobacco plantations. And the cigar factories, and other privately owned businesses. With that, he caused a lot of knowledgable people to flee the country. And eventually, cause the quality and quantity of the cigars coming from other countries. In a way, the Cuban revolution helped the cigar industry in Latin America. The quality and quantity outside Cuba would not be at the current level without the exiled Cubans.

In order to manage the tobacco industry, the Cuban government founded Cubatabaco in 1962. Cubatabaco was responsible for everything regarding tobacco. From growing the tobacco to selling the cigars internationally. And everything in between. The company was renamed to Empresa Exportadora del Tabaco in 1966. Yet the name Cubatabaco is still being used today.

Ministry of Cigars What is Habanos?


In 1994, Habanos S.A. was founded. Habanos would act as the distribution arm for Cubatabaco. All the marketing and sales are done by Habanos. Habanos owns official Habanos distributors all over the world. Most of the distributors are either fully or partially owned by Habanos. In the first six years, Habanos was100% owned by Cubatabaco. In the year 2000, Altadis bought a 50% stake in the company.

Altadis was the result of a merger between the French and the Spanish tobacco companies. Both Tabacalera (Spain) and SEITA (France) were the tobacco monopolies in their country. In 2008, Altadis was bought by Imperial Tobacco. Imperial Tobacco changed its name to Imperial Brands later. Last week, the company announced they are selling the premium cigar division. That is including their stakes in Habanos and Habanos distributors.

Ministry of Cigars - What is Habanos?


In 2001 Cubatabaco was split again. This time, Cubatabaco lost manufacturing. That became the responsibility of a new company, Tabacuba. The cultivating, fermenting and curing of the tobacco is still under Cubatabaco’s control. And Cabatobaco is the owner of the Cuban cigar brand names

La Casa del Habano

If there is one successful franchise concept in the cigar industry, then it’s La Casa del Habano. In 1990 the first La Casa del Habano opened in Cancun, Mexico. And now, 29 years later, you can find the exclusive Habanos shops in almost every continent. More than 60 countries have a La Casa del Habano. And there are over 150 La Casa del Habano outlets as of now. The La Casa del Habano franchise formula is part of the Habanos portfolio.

Another concept under the Habanos umbrella is the Cohiba Atmosphere. That is a series of luxury cigar lounges, partially backed by Habanos. It is more upscale than the La Casa del Habano concept. Even though Cohiba is mentioned in the name, a full range of Cuban cigars is available at a Cohiba Atmosphere. There are currently 12 Cohiba Atmosphere lounges around the world. There are two in Europe (Sofia, Bulgaria and Prague, Czech Republic). One is located in Havana Cuba. There is one in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mexico has a Cohiba Atmosphere. Then there is one in Kuwait. The rest are scattered over Asia.

So next time you hear Habanos, you know that the tobacco isn’t cultivated by Habanos. And that the cigars aren’t rolled by Habanos. And that the brands aren’t even owned by Habanos. The cigars are just marketed and distributed by Habanos, in cooperation with Tabacuba and Cubatabaco.

2 thoughts on “What is Habanos?

  1. Thank you for this really helpful article. I am writing my mémoire on cigars and this article is full of info I needed.

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