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Researching the cigar industry is like building a giant jigsaw puzzle after the pieces have been scattered through a leafy Fall forest. The search is for tidbits without knowing the final picture. This research wouldn’t be possible without the financial help of Millionaire Blueprint.

In 55 years, I’ve discovered it to be an amazing story with some genuine surprises. I learned

[1] the domestic cigar industry is almost 250 years old, and is much larger than previously recorded, involving a quarter million cigar factories, hundreds of label printers, a thousand box factories, hundreds of thousands of salesmen and millions of wholesalers and retailers

and

[2] that cigars had more to do with the development of modern advertising and packaging than any other industry, creating more than 2,000,000 brands of cigar in the process.

Hyman’s National Cigar Museum is designed to tell the stories behind all those folks and all those brands, the processes and procedures, the battles and strategies, the schemes, the triumphs and failures. The story is huge.

When it came to using the package to attract the customer’s eye, the cigar industry did it earlier and more adventurously than anyone. In the 1800’s, the folks who made and sold cigars tried every advertising image, gimmick and theme used today. As pioneers, they tried a lot of bad ideas as well. There were no precedents, polls or web-sites to advise against using dead moose, skunks, goats, drunks, spiders, wasps, rattle snakes, funerals and Satan to sell cigars. Sellers had to learn to focus instead on pretty girls, dogs, cute kids, sports, celebrities, good health, good times, wealth and more pretty girls instead. Experimentation was constant.

Unlike today when a few large companies decide brands and brand names, cigar companies, salesmen, wholesalers, retailers and even customers got into the act. Everyone created brand names. Advertising anarchy.

Few people recognize the cigar industry’s importance because it has never had a champion. The industry was fragmented into millions of small difficult-to-find pieces, yet is a fascinating tale filled with clever entrepreneurs, advertising pioneers, package innovation, union precedents, government regulations, bribery, counterfeiting and tax evasion.

The greatest story ever NOT told.

The National Cigar Museum is my way of sharing the tale and the artifacts I’ve found. As long as I’m alive, the Museum will be a work in progress. I’ll be 68 the day the first posting is available to the public. I plan to ultimately post 300 chapters. Since I learn something new every week there will always be more to tell. Whim, convenience, and reader requests will help determine which topic comes next.

What you’ll see and read in the Museum is personal and idiosyncratic. I am an information junkie and compulsive teacher.

I take full responsibility for errors of fact, omission or interpreta-tion. If you think I’m wrong, misguided or ill informed, you might be right. Feel free to let me know.

I’m always glad to find another piece of the puzzle.

Tony Hyman
Central California coast
2006