This Interview first appeared on our sister site PuffingCigars.com, in honor of our review on the SI-15 we are running this interview to aquaint our new audience with the affable Jeff Padrón.
Recently I had the opportunity and pleasure to talk with Jeff Padrón, the grandson of José Orlando Padrón, the Founder of the storied Padrón Cigar Company. Jeff was a great guy to talk with and had a lot to say when it came to talking about his companies proud legacy, future plans, and their current movement to embrace social-media. The following is our conversation about those topics.
Cigar Brief: For our audience can you state how long your company has been in the business and how you guys got your start? And as a follow up to that question, how did you personally get introduced to the business?
Jeff Padrón: Padrón Cigars was founded in 1964 by my grandfather José Orlando Padrón. My grandfather already had a strong passion for tobacco when he left Cuba. Upon arriving to America in 1962 he received $60 monthly as a government aid to Cuban refugees. Feeling as if he was becoming a burden to the country that accepted his people in he set out to establish a name for himself. A friend of my grandfathers, Raul Hernandez, who worked in the Cuban Refugee office gave my grandfather a gift, a small hammer. During the day he worked as a gardener and at night he did carpentry with the hammer. His dream was to save up enough money to open a factory to craft great cigars like the ones he use to smoke in Cuba. Through hard work and a lot of sacrifice he managed to save up $600, money he made working with the little hammer. With that he was able to establish Padrón Cigars in 1964 and his dreams came true. Since I could remember I have always been infatuated with my grandfather’s work ethics and determination. I have spent many summers and Christmas breaks working in the factory since the second grade. In 2007 I began working for my family full time, as I was finished with school.
Cigar Brief: How would you describe your current lineup of cigars?
Jeff: Currently, we have 4 lines. The Padrón Series, which has a mild to medium body, the 1964 Anniversary Series which has a medium to full body, the 1926 Serie, which has a full body, and our Family Reserve line, which is also full bodied.
Cigar Brief: Do you have any plans for future expansion in your lineup? If so, can you tell us anything about them?
Jeff: We are working on the Family Reserve line by adding a new cigar every year from to commemorate our years in business as we approach our 50th anniversary. We release a new cigar on our anniversary, September 8th, every year.
Cigar Brief: Most people who are familiar with, and love your signature Anniversary series have frequently commented on the cigar’s chocolate undertones. Can you reveal to us how you guys created this unique profile in the Anniversary series?
Jeff: All of the blending and proper curing of the tobacco contributes to these properties.
Cigar Brief: You guys have been in the business for a long time. How have you seen the industry change over the years? How much does changing technology play into your production and marketing strategies (i.e. social media)?
Jeff: The tobacco industry, premium cigars in particular, has a boom every few years as far as new manufactures and/or brands. They come and they go but the more consistent ones tend to make a name for themselves and succeed. Social media, Facebook in particular, has played a tremendous role in our marketing strategies. It is an excellent tool to reach, and share with consumers.
Cigar Brief: What is your current take on the political landscape around cigar rights in the US? How have you guys participated in the fight?
Jeff: We have teamed up with quite a few organizations in order to maintain our rights and protect the future of this industry.
Cigar Brief: What do you want a customer to walk away with after smoking one of your cigars?
Jeff: We like to ensure cigar smokers that Padrón Cigars is and will always be consistent. After smoking a Padrón you can be assured that the next one you light will be just as good if not better then the previous one.
Cigar Brief: What is in your personal cigar rotation at the moment?
Jeff: Naturally I smoke all 4 lines, mostly depending on the occasion and amount of time I have. Although, I have noticed myself reaching for the 1926 No. 6 maduros more frequently lately.
Cigar Brief: What size of cigar do you prefer and why?
Jeff: I prefer a 46-56 ring gauge because it fits well in my hand.
Cigar Brief: If someone wants to produce their own line someday, what advice would you give that individual?
Jeff: Create something you like to smoke and stay consistent!
Once again, as always we would like to thank Jeff and Padrón Cigars for sitting down with us and letting us get to know them and their company a little bit better. We are excited to watch Padrón continue to make excellent cigars that constantly redefine what quality is! If you would like to learn more about the Padrón lineup, then please go http://www.padron.com/.