Arturo Fuente is a brand of cigar, founded by Arturo Fuente, Sr. in 1912 in West Tampa, Florida. Following a catastrophic fire in 1924, the brand ceased production for 22 years, reemerging in 1946 on a limited, local basis. Ownership was transferred to Arturo's younger son, Carlos Fuente, Sr. in 1958. Following the 1960 United States embargo of Cuba, the Fuente brand began a period of slow and steady growth, emerging as one of the most critically acclaimed makers of hand-rolled premium cigars outside of Cuba. As of 2010 the company was producing 30 million cigars per annum from its factory in the Dominican Republic.
The Arturo Fuente cigar brand was born in 1912 in West Tampa, Florida. It was in that year that the brand was launched by a 24-year old Cuban émigré named Arturo Fuente as A. Fuente & Co. Fuente had come to the United States in 1902, leaving his hometown of Güines, Cuba in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War.
The original factory used by the company was a three story wooden building, one of nearly 200 cigar-making facilities in the city of Tampa alone. All of these manufacturers would import tobacco from nearby Cuba for production into finished cigars.
The company was incorporated in 1924, by which time A. Fuente & Co. had grown to the point that it employed 500 workers. However late in 1924 disaster struck the company and their building burned to the ground. Production of the brand was halted; it would not be until 1946, 22 years later, that production of the brand resumed.
The Arturo Fuente line of cigars ranges from the inexpensive to the premium.
The full-bodied Fuente Fuente Opus X, introduced to the market in November 1995, is regarded the brand's flagship product. The cigar is a Dominican puro (i.e. 100% grown in that one country) making use of Rosado wrapper grown by Fuente's own farm. The cigar is made in 13 vitolas ranging in size from the 4-5/8 inch by 49 ring gauge "Belicoso XXX" to the massive 9-1/4 inch by 47 "Perfecxion A." The cigar achieved great critical success, with the corona size named as Cigar Aficionado magazine's 2005 Cigar of the Year and the Belicoso XXX rated by that publication as the world's number 3 release in 2010.
In 2004 Cuban-American actor and director Andy García contacted Carlos Fuente, Jr. seeking to film scenes for the film The Lost City in the Fuente tobacco fields. The film was scheduled to shoot in July of that year, however — a time after the crop had already been harvested. To provide a setting for the film 15 acres were planted by Fuente in tobacco during what would ordinarily have been the off season. The resulting special crop — harvested, cured, and manufactured for first release in 2009 — was very successfully marketed as the Opus X Lost City Edition. Five vitolas of this special edition were produced in 2010, with very limited productions ranging from 4,000 to 12,000 cigars per size.
Arturo Fuente is the manufacturer of the Ashton brand, established in 1985 by Robert Levin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The company also makes some of the cigars sold by the J.C. Newman Cigar Company of Tampa, Florida. J.C. Newman returns the favor, handling the production of all of Arturo Fuente's machine-made product.