How many products in the world are 100% handmade? Habanos, of course, is one of the most renowned. One of the people most intricately involved spiritually in the production of the world famous Habanos cigars is Javier Terrés, vice president for development of Habanos S.A. Mr. Terrés discussed the excellence and exclusivity of this brand in an exclusive interview with Cubaplus Magazine.
Technically, Terrés started in the tobacco business 26 years ago, in 1984, but one could safely say he has spent his entire l ife in the tobacco world since he was actually born in a cigar factory. He has been with Habanos since 2000, when the Franco-Spanish company Altadis purchased 50% of Corporacion Habanos S.A. As vice president of Habanos S.A., Terrés places great importance on the celebration of the Habanos Festival.
“It is the principal premium cigars event in the world. No other event gathers over one thousand people to talk about premium cigars and tobacco culture for a week.”
Habanos S.A. distributes cigars and related products all around the world. Europe represents 70% of its sales. Regarding the distribution in North America and specifically Canada, Terrés said:
“America as a continent represents the second largest region of interest for us, taking into considerat ion that Cuba is included as the biggest market in the region. Canada is a very difficult market due to laws concerning tobacco products (smoking restrictions, labell ing, etc) but we have many devotees and very good retailers all over the country. Our exclusive distributor company, Havana House, is in Toronto.”
The main celebrat ion of the 2010 Habanos Festival, to be held February 22nd to 26th, will be a tribute to the Cohiba and Romeo y Jul ieta brands. The Festival is the largest and most important opportunity to launch new products, as Habanos does each year. Aficionados around the world expect surprises and this year is no exception. And, Terrés, with a smile, would give no hint of the surprises prepared for the event. Part of Terrés’ job is to maintain the high level of the event year after year and keep the Habanos Festival as the reference for all cigar events in the world; a difficult task considering the world financial situation.
Habanos has been operating so as to have the least negative effects.
“The year 2009 has been difficult because of the economic crisis but our goal was to increase our market share and we have succeeded. We bel ieve that once the crisis is over we will be in a better position than our competitors.”