Tampa, Florida: The Cigar Capital of the World – Then Imagine yourself walking down a street in Tampa. A soft breeze comes off the Bay and ruffles your beige linen jacket. But you don’t notice because your mind is focused upon the proposal you presented to the city leaders. The familiar clip-clip of a shoed hoof beats time to the rhythm of your thoughts. You stop under the umber flow of a gas light to face the Bay. Laughter rings out, from the approaching carriage, like thin silver bells. As it passes, the horse turns his head and whinnies his disapproval at your distraction. You are looking out across the Bay watching the bustle on the various fishing boats as they prepare to embark on another night in the Gulf. They are the industry in this small town of Tampa, but you have a dream that will change that. You are about to break ground on Cigar City. When your dream comes true Tampa will grow from a sleepy little fishing town to become the cigar capital of the world. This same bay that now harbors a fleet of fisherman will soon become the port which launches ships to deliver millions of handmade cigars to ports all across the globe. Cigar City will become a reality as artisans will come from their native home of Cuba and build a new life and home in Tampa. The flat landscape of this little port will soon see classic brick factories sprout up like the beautiful tobacco plants that give all the gift of earthy cigars. The year is 1885, you are are Vicente Martinez Ybor, and this was your dream.
Tampa, Florida: The Cigar Capital of the World – Now Imagine yourself walking down a street in Ybor City. A cool breeze coming off the Bay takes the edge of the Florida heat. You reach into the inside pocket of your white blazer to retrieve a handmade cigar. As you lean against a steel light pole and light your cigar a pack of people passes you. They open a door behind you and the spicy smell of Ropa Vieja blends into the warm scent of your cigar. The bright brassy sound of a band playing a mambo fills the air with joy. You look up to see the stars breaking through the clouds and you remember how your dream came to you and how it is growing. You believed that Tampa could rise from the ashes and once again become the cigar capital of the world. Where large factories once stood, there would arise artisan boutiques that would rediscover the traditional methods of making cigars by hand. Where Lectors once stood reading stories, news, and poetry to inspire and build community amongst the workers, there would arise cultural events with poets, artists, and musicians inspiring a new generation to be a caring community once again. Where large steel ships once came to port to deliver cigars around the world, there would arise a local community connecting to every port through the world-wide web. Once again Tampa would relive the glory days of cigars through the fusion of an old Cuba heritage with the new blending techniques using Cuban and Central American tobacco. The year is 2017, you are Yanko Maceda, and this is your dream.
Join In Our Journey Join us as we continue to make this dream an ever-blossoming reality. Stand with us as we navigate FDA obstacles and negotiate the implications of the lifting of the Cuban embargo. The future is a beautiful dream unfolding as together we rediscover and relive the glory of the cigar industry in Tampa.