×
TAMPA BAY'S CIGAR HISTORY

HOW IT ALL STARTED

On April 13, 1886, the newly opened Sanchez y Haya cigar company on 7th Avenue became the first place in Ybor City to roll a cigar. Hand-rolled cigars quickly became the primary industry in Tampa Bay, earning the community its nickname: Cigar City.

 

 

Over the next 30 years, more than 200 hundred cigar factories rose up across the region, employing tens of thousands of people and turning what had been a tiny town in 1884 into a major metropolis by the turn of the 20th Century. At its peak, the cigar industry produce more than 500 million cigar a year and Tampa Bay cigars could be found in pool halls, board rooms and palaces around the world.

 

Further your knowledge

    Anna of the Tropics

    The industry gave rise to the Cuban sandwich – developed to feed cigar workers, funded the Cuban fight for independence from Spain, and even inspired a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Anna of the Tropics,” set among the cigar factories of Ybor City.

     

     

    Cigar Factories

    Those enormous factories have been replaced with small boutiques, but cigars remain a key part of Tampa Bay’s cultural identity. Drop into a shop on 7th Avenue today and watch Cuban masters roll cigars by hand the same way they’ve been rolled since 1886.

    South of 7th Avenue, Sweetheart Cigars features cigars made by the descendants of Arturo Fuente, a pillar of cigar making. And in the West Shore District, you’ll find premium cigars at Davidoff of Geneva’s flagship store.

     

    J.C. Newman Cigars

    JC Newman Cigar Factory

    Starting later this year, the J.C. Newman Company will open a museum and hand-rolling gallery in its factory on the north side of Ybor City. The factory has been in the same family for more than a century and made cigars on machinery from the 1930s. It’s newest product: the Americano, a cigar made entirely with U.S.-grown materials, from the filler to the label.