Made in America: The American by J.C. Newman
“I could not help but realize more than ever what a great country this is. It filled me more than ever with deep pride to be an American.” - Julius Caeser Newman, Smoke Dreams, 1958
The story behind The American by J.C. Newman is one that is unique, and filled with rich history and inspiration. It is the true embodiment of the meaning of “The American Dream”, and brings together some of the most esteemed craftsmen and tobacco farmers in our great country – and a story that we at Corona Cigar Co. are proud beyond words to be a part of.
Born in 1875 in a small Hungarian village, Julius Newman and his family sailed across the Atlantic in 1888 in search of their American Dream. By 1895 he founded the Newman’s family business, which we now know as the J.C. Newman Cigar Company. Four generations later, they are the oldest family-owned cigar company in the U.S.A. The American was first rolled at the historic “El Reloj” factory in Tampa, Florida when it opened in 1910, and was relaunched in celebration of the company’s 125th anniversary in 2019.
Original The American cigars ceased production in 1951, and the brand had laid dormant for more than 60 years until Drew Newman’s wife, Ariel, suggested the idea of creating an all-American, handcrafted cigar. “Her vision drove this project”, says Drew Newman. No small task at hand, the Newman’s took on the challenge of bringing this idea to life.
Speaking of “life”, let’s talk about where these cigars begin theirs – in the tobacco fields. The unique blend of tobbacos used in this cigar are sourced across the country from Florida, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
Wrapper leaf for The American is grown right here at Jeff Borysiewicz’s Florida Sun Grown Tobacco http://floridasungrown.com/ farm in Clermont, Florida, where Florida tobacco has been revived since its last crop in 1977. Using Corojo ‘99 seeds, grown on a 20-acre farm and aged to perfection, it is the first time FSG tobacco has been used as wrapper leaf. Jeff’s farm is the closest tobacco farm to Cuba, and as such, the climate and mineral rich soil gives FSG tobacco a unique, earthy taste that is unlike any other.
From John Foster’s farm in Connecticut comes the binder and filler blend. For eight generations and more than 200 years, the Foster family has grown their tobacco in South Windsor, Connecticut, in the fertile soils of the Connecticut River Valley. Two types of heirloom tobacco are used as the binder and filler - the binder being traditional Connecticut Broadleaf that is famous for its rich and hearty flavor, and the filler made of Connecticut Havana Seed tobacco. These two varieties lend their unique traits to the complexity and taste profile of The American.
Another unique leaf used in the filler of this blend is Mennonite heirloom tobacco grown in Pennsylvania. Amish and Mennonite families continue the centuries-old tradition of growing their tobacco in Lancaster County with perhaps the most unique fashion – grown 100% the old-fashioned way, without the use of tractors, electricity, or any hired help. Their tobacco not only gives its flavor and strength to the blend, but adds another element to the hand-made craftsmanship down to each and every individual leaf used.
Down to the Hinges
Now, you might already think to yourself, “Well that’s a great cigar using all-American tobacco...”, but what if I told you there was even more proud American craftsmanship that went into this project?
Most cigar boxes are made using Spanish cedar, or other types of wood, but The American is packaged in an even more unique way. Box maker Miguel Cabrera of Millennium Wood Boxes crafts these at his family-owned business in Miami, Florida. The wood is responsibly grown basswood from Ohio, the stain made in North Carolina, the ink for the stamps comes from Illinois, and even the hinges are made in Massachusetts.
Before The American cigars are laid to rest in their boxes before smoking, they have to be shaped. You guessed it, the cigar molds are made right here in the U.S. of A. also. Nick Cutro, grandson of Maria Cutro Frisco - known as the finest cigar maker at “El Reloj” 50 years ago - has been making cigar molds in Central Florida for more than 28 years. Created with plastic materials made in America, Nick uses computerized machines to fabricate the molds with great precision. These molds are used by many of the major cigar factories in the Caribbean and Central America, and give The American line its selection of shapes and sizes.
To help recreate the imagery and feel of the original cigars’ namesake, artists from across the country came together on the project to tie everything together. The original bands of the 1800s were recreated by Glenn Wolk, a Brooklyn-based artist who has been designing products for historic brands such as Fender, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren. Glenn also designed and painted the edging and cigar label, all inspired by many other vintage labels. Tyler Storms, house designer for J.C. Newman specializes in authentic branding and packaging design. He created the design of The American cigar box, the seals on the box, and The American Story book. Printing for these elements of the cigar bands, labels, edging, and guarantee seal are done by Jason Schneck of Central Florida. He uses state-of-the-art presses to produce cigar labels and bands for many of the world’s leading cigar brands.
As a whole, The American is not simply a cigar, but a culmination of centuries worth of experience and knowledge. It is truly an American product down to the very core, and each cigar that is smoked contains the history of families all throughout our country. We hope you get to share in this experience, and take pride in smoking The American by J.C. Newman.