Tabacalera de García Procigar 2024

Day Three of Procigar 2024 began with a visit to the famed Tabacalera de García, one of the largest cigar factories in the world. This was followed by travel from La Romana to Santiago de los Caballeros for the remainder of the festival.

Tabacalera de Garcia has operated for over 55 years. It is best known for making the brands of Tabacalera USA and Tabacalera (non-U.S. market brands). The factory employs over 2,000 people who are devoted to making premium handmade cigars. Back in 2020, Imperial Brands sold off its premium cigar division. At the time, Imperial owned Tabacalera de García. However, when premium cigars were separated, Tabacalera acquired the factory and built a new facility devoted to premium handmade cigars. The new factory opened in 2022. In addition to producing its own brands, Tabacalera would continue to produce the brands of Tabacalera USA, which includes Altadis USA.

Tabacalera de García is the home to the famed Grupo de Maestros team. This all-star team of cigar makers boasts a combined total of more than 300 years of experience. The team is split between Tabacalera de García in the Dominican Republic and Flor de Copan in Honduras. While Tabacalera USA made some high-profile releases in Nicaragua in conjunction with AJ Fernandez and the Plasencias, it is essential to know the Grupo de Maestros are the heart of the production operations for Tabacalera USA and Tabacalera.

The following are the members of the Grupo de Maestros team:

  • Javier Elmundesi (Tabacalera de García)
  • Pedro Ventura (Tabacalera de García)
  • Nestor Rodriguez (Tabacalera de García)
  • Victor Avila (Tabacalera de García)
  • Carlos Travieso (Tabacalera de García)
  • Candido Rosario (Tabacalera de García)
  • Joel Alvarenga Bautista (Flor de Copan)
  • Elmer Suarez (Flor de Copan)

I was really looking forward to touring this factory. It is a large-scale operation with the capacity to produce 400 million cigars annually. More than that, I wanted to meet the famed Grupo de Maestros team, as it is not common for them to come to the United States.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s report, the festival not only highlights cigar making but also highlights Dominican culture. Upon arrival at Tabacalera de García, we were treated to Dominican music and food.

Things at Tabacalera de García kicked off with a presentation where we were given an overview of the factory. A pairing seminar featuring the H. Upmann 1844 Special Edition Barbier and Café Tostado, a Dominican coffee brand, followed the factory overview.

It was then on to the Tabacalera de García factory tour. The tour was condensed and covered a lot of ground in four hours. Every factory has its own way of doing things, and Tabacalera de García is no exception. We were walked through the tobacco processing and cigar-making process. I couldn’t do justice recapping it here, so I won’t attempt to do it. I will say that Tabacalera de Garcia makes a large operation seem pretty seamless.

Tabacalera de Garcia has multiple large galera rooms where pairs roll cigars. You can see from the photos that they carry the Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta lines, but they are not exclusively dedicated to rolling cigars for those lines. The size of these galeras is impressive – only a handful of factories in the world can compare.

And there is plenty of tobacco at Tabacalera de García.


Tabacalera de Garcia is well-known for producing Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta. Although some of the cigars for these brands are made in Nicaragua, Tabacalera de García produces the lion’s share. The huge volume of VegaFina produced at Tabacalera de García is awe-inspiring. While VegaFina isn’t a huge brand in the U.S., I knew it had a large following in Europe (especially Spain). Our tour guide told me VegaFina might be in the top three regarding brand production at Tabacalera de García.

Following the Tabacalera de García tour, we departed La Romana for a four-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Santiago. Once in Santiago, the Welcome Reception for the Santiago portion of the trip was held. Yes, there was music, and although we muted it in the video, it was moderately loud in person.

Video by Jay Davis

Upon arriving in Santiago, attendees were given a welcome box of 12 cigars. It contained one cigar from each Procigar manufacturing member.

The first full day in Santiago is tomorrow, and it will be the first day of factory and farm visits in that area. There will also be a blending seminar and a welcome dinner for attendees.

For full Procigar 2024  coverage, see our Procigar 2024 Coverage Hub

Photo/Video Credits: Cigar Coop, unless specified