A Year of Ce­le­bra­tions



Work, de­ter­mi­na­tion, fa­mily, triumph, pri­vi­le­ge, in­no­va­tion, cha­llen­ge, cul­tu­re, Cu­ba, pas­sion; tho­se are so­me of the words that co­me to our minds when tal­king about high-oc­ta­ne events such as the Ha­ba­nos Fes­ti­val and, in this li­ne, the ma­na­ge­ment of Ha­ba­nos, S.A. For 25 years, the ac­tions of this joint ven­tu­re has been de­fi­ned by an ex­ce­llent work, which has allo­wed the com­pany to ma­ke a na­me for it­self in the in­ter­na­tio­nal mar­ket, being pre­sent in mo­re than 150 coun­tries and hit­ting re­cord highs in re­ve­nue.

The­re­fo­re, each Fes­ti­val is a reason for joy and co­mes with new cha­llen­ges; it is a va­lua­ble ti­me to en­joy the spi­rit of Ha­ba­nos in its birth­pla­ce. This 22nd edition aims not only at ce­le­bra­ting, but it al­so in­tends to ama­ze and se­du­ce. On the la­test news and de­tails of this im­por­tant event, Ex­ce­len­cias had this ex­clu­si­ve in­ter­view with Mr. Luis Sán­chez-Har­guin­dey Par­do de Ve­ra (L.S.-H) and Mr. Inocente Nú­ñez Blan­co (I.N.), co-pre­si­dents of Ha­ba­nos, S.A.

The­re ha­ve been al­ready 22 edi­tions of this Ha­ba­nos Fes­ti­val. What do you ma­ke of this event evo­lu­tion?

I.N. and L.S-H. : For Ha­ba­nos, S.A., it is cer­tainly a ge­nui­ne pri­vi­le­ge to ce­le­bra­te the 22nd edition of the Ha­bano Fes­ti­val. The fact that we are ac­tually ce­le­bra­ting 22 edi­tions is the best to­ken of suc­cess of this Fes­ti­val, which al­ways aims to in­no­va­te and ama­ze its guests. But it is not only a pri­vi­le­ge for Ha­ba­nos, S.A., but al­so for Cu­ba and Ha­va­na to be the ve­nue of choi­ce for this ma­jor in­ter­na­tio­nal event gat­he­ring with over 5,000 at­ten­dees du­ring a wee­klong gat­he­ring, en­ga­ging the most de­man­ding ent­hu­siasts of the world's fi­nest ci­gars: the Ha­ba­nos.

What does the Fes­ti­val mean to Cu­ba, ge­ne­rally spea­king, and to Ha­ba­nos in par­ti­cu­lar?

I.N.: The Ha­bano Fes­ti­val is the per­fect fra­me­work to show­ca­se not only a uni­que pro­duct li­ke Ha­ba­nos, but al­so all the cul­tu­re and art of this won­der­ful is­land na­med Cu­ba.

For Ha­ba­nos, S.A., it is the most im­por­tant ti­me of the year. We gat­her all Ha­ba­nos' ent­hu­siasts around the world for a week, and in­tro­du­ce the year's big­gest laun­ching to them.

It is an ex­cep­tio­nal op­por­tu­nity for our ent­hu­siasts, and not only for the new ele­ments in­tro­du­ced, but al­so be­cau­se the Ha­bano Fes­ti­val is whe­re you can really em­bra­ce the uni­que ex­pe­rien­ce in­vol­ving the cul­tu­re and spi­rit of Ha­ba­nos in its birth­pla­ce, Cu­ba.

For Cu­ba, and spe­cially for Ha­va­na, it is a wee­klong event to fos­ter everyt­hing that ma­kes our cul­tu­re and na­tion uni­que. But that's not the who­le story, the Ha­ba­nos Fes­ti­val is one of the most im­por­tant events in Cu­ba and the be­ne­fits re­cei­ved by the country and es­pe­cially Ha­va­na, thanks to this Fes­ti­val, pro­ve us right. We are tal­king about be­ne­fits ge­ne­ra­ted by

the high-end tou­rism at­ten­ding the Fes­ti­val; na­mely in terms of ac­com­mo­da­tion and res­tau­rant be­ne­fits, let alo­ne trans­por­ta­tion and lei­su­re…, as well as the funds rai­sed at the Hu­mi­dor Auc­tion, which is fun­ne­led in­to the Cu­ban Mi­nistry of Pu­blic Health. We know the im­por­tan­ce it has for our na­tion and thus, we are very proud of that.

What new ele­ments can we find in the con­tent of the Fes­ti­val?

I.N.: New ele­ments can al­ways be found at the Ha­ba­nos Fes­ti­val, as we in­tro­du­ce the year's big­gest laun­ches on an an­nual ba­sis. But it is al­so true for every ac­ti­vity and show ca­rried out du­ring the week. Of cour­se, we pro­vi­de the tra­di­tio­nal vi­sits to to­bac­co plan­ta­tions. This year, we will vi­sit the Par­ti­do Zone, in San An­to­nio de los Ba­ños. We are going to vi­sit the Co­ro­na and Par­ta­gas fac­to­ries, two Ha­ba­nos' ico­nic centers. Ot­her new ele­ments are the lec­tu­res to be held at the In­ter­na­tio­nal Se­mi­nar, the third edition of the Ha­ba­nos World Cha­llen­ge con­test, the Ha­bano hand-ro­lling mas­ter class, the al­ways in­no­va­ti­ve Ha­ba­nos Mo­ment, the mu­chan­ti­ci­pa­ted Allian­ce and, of cour­se, the great ar­tis­tic per­for­man­ces we will en­joy in the best th­ree nights of the year, de­di­ca­ted this ti­me around to the Bo­lí­var, Mon­te­cris­to, and Romeo y Ju­lie­ta brands.

What are the new ele­ments — as for new pro­ducts — to be un­vei­led to Ha­ba­nos' ent­hu­siasts in this Fes­ti­val?

L.S.-H.: 2019 is a year of ce­le­bra­tions. Many of the Ha­ba­nos' brands are ce­le­bra­ting their an­ni­ver­sa­ries and so­me will ha­ve very spe­cial laun­ches. One of the most re­le­vant is Romeo y Ju­lie­ta, which ce­le­bra­tes its 145 years of exis­ten­ce, and re­lea­ses its most Pre­mium Li­ne wit­hin the brand, its new Lí­nea de Oro (Gol­den Li­ne) with th­ree new vi­to­las. Anot­her ico­nic brand, li­ke Mon­te­cris­to, is ce­le­bra­ting its 85th an­ni­ver­sary and in­tro­du­ces Mon­te­cris­to He­re­de­ros for ex­clu­si­ve sa­le at Ha­ba­nos Spe­cia­lists and La Ca­sa del Ha­bano fran­chi­se net­work, which al­so ce­le­bra­tes its 30th an­ni­ver­sary. But no­vel­ties are not only re­ser­ved for brands

ce­le­bra­ting their an­ni­ver­sa­ries, but al­so ot­her brands. One of them is Bo­li­var, which in­tro­du­ces for the first ti­me ever its Re­ser­ve, the Bo­lí­var Be­li­co­sos Fi­nos, 2016 har­vest. The Li­mi­ted Edition for 2020, ea­gerly-awai­ted by Ha­ba­nos ent­hu­siasts, of­fer this year Par­ta­gás Le­ga­do. The lat­ter is al­so ce­le­bra­ting its an­ni­ver­sary, no­ne less than 175 years sin­ce it was foun­ded. As you can see, a year full of laun­ches that we are con­vin­ced all of them will fully plea­se all ent­hu­siasts of the best ci­gars in the world.

How is Ha­ba­nos, S.A. po­si­tio­ned in the in­ter­na­tio­nal mar­ket and how are the mar­kets fa­ring?

L.S.-H.: Ha­ba­nos, S.A. con­ti­nues to be the lea­ding com­pany in all its ni­ches, with a mar­ket sha­re clo­se to 70% in vo­lu­me and 80% in va­lue. The mar­kets are fa­ring suc­cess­fully, strengt­he­ning our po­si­tion in tho­se that are sea­so­ned and step­ping up our pre­sen­ce and sa­les, es­pe­cially in emer­ging mar­kets, such as Chi­na, which is in­crea­singly be­co­ming a po­wer­hou­se for Ha­ba­nos. Ul­ti­ma­tely, this 2019 has been on­ce again a suc­cess­ful year in the mar­ke­ting of Ha­bano thanks to se­ve­ral lea­ding-ed­ge initia­ti­ves that we ha­ve ca­rried out, which de­ci­si­vely con­tri­bu­te to po­si­tio­ning our­sel­ves as the un­dis­pu­ted lea­ders of pre­mium to­bac­co world­wi­de. We are con­fi­dent that, with the no­vel­ties to be in­tro­du­ced at this Fes­ti­val, we will be he­re next year tal­king about anot­her suc­cess­ful year.

Ha­ba­nos, S.A. ce­le­bra­ted its 25th an­ni­ver­sary in 2019. What is your view on the years you ha­ve co-chai­red Ha­ba­nos, S.A.?

L.S.-H.: Per­so­nally, I ha­ve been lin­ked to Cu­ba for 21 years now, 18 of tho­se years in Ha­ba­nos. And I tell you so­met­hing, I could not be any prouder to work he­re, to be­long to this fa­mily and to do my sha­re so that Ha­ba­nos, S.A. con­ti­nues to grow in pres­ti­ge and re­cog­ni­tion. Ha­ba­nos S.A. is a joint ven­tu­re re­sul­ting from the mer­ging of Ta­ba­cu­ba and Ta­ba­ca­le­ra. And, as a re­sult of this part­ners­hip, Ha­ba­nos, S.A. ce­le­bra­ted its 25th an­ni­ver­sary as the lea­ding com­pany in the in­dustry.

And all this is pos­si­ble thanks to the won­der­ful to­bac­co gro­wing in this soil, but abo­ve all, to the pro­ven pas­sion and work from tho­se who are or we­re part of our fa­mily. From the wor­kers at the To­bac­co Re­search Ins­ti­tu­te of Cu­ba to the to­bac­co gro­wers, and tho­se who work in pre-in­dustry and in­dustry, and each and every one of the wor­kers of Ha­ba­nos, S.A., our dis­tri­bu­tors and re­tai­lers; our spon­sors, who be­lie­ve in us, and ul­ti­ma­tely all tho­se who, with their support, ha­ve ma­de Ha­bano the best ci­gar in the world.

I.N.: This an­ni­ver­sary was a per­fect ti­me to look back, learn from mis­ta­kes and ce­le­bra­te and sha­re suc­ces­ses, re­cog­ni­ze foun­ders and per­so­na­li­ties who ha­ve ma­de it pos­si­ble, and of cour­se, de­fi­ne the next cha­llen­ges that we will meet for su­re with the help of all. Ha­ba­nos, S.A. — 25 years la­ter — is pre­sent in mo­re than 150 coun­tries and has been achie­ving re­cord re­ve­nues for years. Ex­ports con­ti­nue to grow, which is pa­ra­mount for the country.

This suc­cess is the re­sult of a uni­que pro­duct, due to its ori­gin, and tra­di­tion, but al­so be­cau­se of the ro­le pla­yed by this “big fa­mily”, Ha­ba­nos, S.A., in the stra­te­gic de­ve­lop­ment of our brands. We ha­ve ca­rried out great mar­ke­ting ac­tions in the­se 25 years and ha­ve al­ways led the mar­ket in in­no­va­tion and laun­ching, and with ef­fort, this will re­main so. The­re­fo­re, we we­re able to ce­le­bra­te the­se two and a half de­ca­des with op­ti­mism, kno­wing that we could con­ti­nue to grow, and our goal will be al­ways to se­lling mo­re and bet­ter by mee­ting, thanks to our ex­ten­si­ve port­fo­lio, all the needs of ent­hu­siasts of the best ci­gar in the world: the Ha­bano. We are pretty su­re that the­se 25 years of achie­ve­ments are only the be­gin­ning of a great suc­cess­ful story.

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