23 Apr 2014
Since returning from my latest visit to Nicaragua, I’ve shared a number of photos with you, including this article focused on Drew Estate’s expansion and quality control, and this article about “DE2.” Today I provide some of my favorite photos from the trip that weren’t included in either of those two pieces.
The grounds of Drew Estate’s Estelí facility are handsomely decorated and well-appointed. Included with the vegetation and sweeping views is a Liga Privada swimming pool, a shaded canopy for dining, and a clubhouse equipped with a poker table and comfortable furniture.
Since the last time I visited, Jesse Flores and his team in Subculture Studios have updated the massive mural that adorns the back wall of the factory. The work is characterized by hot air balloons that highlight various Drew Estate brands.
Walking the tobacco fields is a surreal experience. The whole notion of “seed to smoke” cannot be fully appreciated without visiting the sunny fields where the seeds are planted, grown, and cultivated.
This was my first visit to a curing barn, the place where cultivated tobacco is hung to dry. Tobacco growers don’t ship their leaves green, and these barns are integral to that process.
I hadn’t been to the Joya de Nicaragua factory since 2012. Much had changed since my last visit. For starters, the facility had undergone a renovation—both inside and out. In addition, José Blanco, instead of recently joining the company, had already left to launch a new cigar brand out of the Dominican Republic.
Drew Estate is enormous. Joya de Nicaragua is big (and steeped in tradition). Nica Sueño, the factory of Skip Martin’s RoMa Craft Tobac, is much, much smaller than either. It was interesting to visit this tiny yet formidable operation after touring larger factories.
More of my photos from this trip can be viewed here.
photo credit: Stogie Guys