After five years of experimentation, Corona Cigar Company, out of Orlando, FL, in collaboration with Drew Estate recently released FSG by Drew Estate cigars, made with Florida Sun Grown (FSG) tobacco. Tobacco is grown in Florida? Yep.
Florida Tobacco History
Before I get into the details on the FSG by Drew Estate, here’s a little Florida tobacco history courtesy of the Corona Cigar Company website:
“For nearly 175 years, Florida had a rich and storied history of growing some of the world’s finest cigar tobacco. Florida was once the second largest producer of premium cigar tobacco in America. There were thousands of acres grown just north of Tallahassee in the towns of Quincy and Havana, Florida. In fact, the reason they named the town Havana, was so that unscrupulous tobacco brokers could label Florida grown tobacco bales as being grown in Havana and sell it at a premium to unsuspecting cigar factories all across America as the more expensive, imported tobacco from Havana, Cuba.
In the 1890’s, Cuba was fighting for their independence from Spain. To escape the war and the blockade on Havana harbor, some Cuban tobacco growers established large tobacco farms in Fort Mead, Florida so they could continue to supply American cigar factories with tobacco. With Florida having a very similar climate, altitude and close proximity to Cuba, their tobacco farms thrived.
Unfortunately, due to the invention of the cigarette and the gradual decline in cigar consumption, the resulting closure of thousands of American cigar factories, the invention of homogenized tobacco wrappers, the high cost of American labor and the low cost of foreign labor, it was no longer economically feasible for Florida’s farmers to grown cigar tobacco. For the next 70 years, the cigar industry continued to get smaller each year and as a result, the last crop of Florida cigar tobacco was grown in 1977 on a farm in Gadsen County, Florida.
In 2012, Corona Cigar Company purchased a 20 acre plot of farm land 30 miles west of Orlando, in the town of Clermont, Florida. We began clearing the land, prepping the the soil, constructing our unique tobacco curing barn, installing irrigation and purchasing equipment.
In 2013, we planted our first test crop of Cuban seed Corojo tobacco not knowing what the results would be. History as well as science told us that we could successfully grow cigar tobacco in Florida and fortunately, our test crop proved that with nature alone, we could grow good tobacco. With proper funding, research, modern agriscience combined with time honored, proven methods of cultivation, and a lot of hard work and a dedicated team, we could grow GREAT tobacco.
Since that first test crop we have grown six successful crops to date. Each year we continue to improve as we make adjustments to adapt to our unique growing environment. Our hard working, all-American farm team understand what it takes to make a premium cigar. They take pride in growing the finest tobacco leaves and they know, years later, their tobacco will bear the Florida Sun Grown name on world class cigars.”
Here’s a video of Corona Cigar Company discussing their efforts to grow tobacco in Florida.
FSG by Drew Estate
First, a caveat. We don’t review cigars at Cigar Intel. For those of you who want a review of the FSG by Drew Estate, here’s a review by StogieGuys and another review by HalfWheel, two fantastic sites for cigar reviews.
The FSG by Drew Estate is made at Drew Estate’s Gran Fabrica in Esteli, Nicaragua. For more information about Drew Estate’s operation, check out our four part series documenting our landmark visit to Drew Estate in 2013. Willy Herrera, Drew Estate’s Master Blender, blended the FSG line and the cigar consists of three different types of tobacco. Florida Sun Grown Corojo ’99 is mixed with seco and viso tobaccos from Nicaragua for the filler. The binder is from Honduras and the wrapper is from Brazil. How much of the cigar is actually Florida Sun Grown is unknown but I’m guessing not a lot due to the small amount of tobacco grown there.
The cigar comes in the following sizes:
– Limited Edition Toro at $15 each or $135.95 for a box of 10.
– Sixty at $15 each or $270.95 for a box of 20.
– Robusto at $207.95 for a box of 20.
– Toro at $234.95 for a box of 20.
– Belicoso at $252.95 for a box of 20.
– Sampler of 5 for $49.95.
You can buy your very own FSG by Drew Estate cigars HERE.