H. Upmann Cigar Factory


The “H. Upmann” cigar factory was founded in Havana in 1844 by two immigrants who came to Cuba in 1843 from the German city of Bremen: brothers Herman and August Upmann. They established their manufacture at 85 San Miguel Street, Havana.

By 1890, Upmann brothers built a new building to their cigar factory in the block formed by the streets Carlos III, Belascoaín, Estrella and San Carlos. It was one of the largest and most beautiful buildings in the city by that time.

Herman Upmann died in Germany in 1894. From his marriage to Marie Braesecke were born three sons, Herman Albert, Albert Heinrich and Carl Julius. After his father's death, the first two were sent to Havana, where they learned the secrets of the cigar industry under the tutelage of his uncle August.

Finally August returned to Germany leaving his two nephews at the head of business. The cigar factory happened to be named "H. Upmann and Company".
Carl Julius, the third brother, started a cigar factory in New York under the brand “Carl Upmann”.

When the World War I began, the Germans lived in the Americas was persecuted.
In 1917 Herman Albert was forced to remain confined at home and the family was almost ruined by the economic crisis that ensued.

In 1922 the factory was auctioned by $ 30,000 and December 18 of the same year bought by the British company Frankau SA, the predecessor of the current Hunters & Frankau Limited.

Herman Albert died later in Havana, while his brother Heinrich Albert, married to an American, went to live in America.

After buying the cigar factory, Frankau leased it in 1924 to a partnership founded by brothers Manuel, Bernardo, Francisco and Jose Solaun and also by Otto Brades, Paul Meyer and Francisco Fernandez. Solaun brothers were born in Spain, and migrated to Cuba since 1898, which set as tobacco growers in the town of Puerta de Golpe, Pinar del Rio province.

Before lease the factory H. Upmann they had moved to Havana, where they purchased the factory "Baire", located on the corner of Belascoaín Street with San Rafael Street. Here, they began to produce their cigars with H. Upmann brand. In 1928 the factory was moved to Figuras street.

Frankau, in 1936 canceled the contract with the brothers Solaun and the following year sold the brand "H. Upmann” to the brothers Benjamin and Alonso Menendez, owners together with Jose Garcia of the factory “Particulares, SA”, located on 609 Virtudes street, workshop where they began to produce cigars with the newly acquired brand.

Menendez-García was also proprietors of “Byron” and “Particulares” brands, as well as a tobacco leaves warehouse at 407 Amistad Street. Shortly after inserted the brands “Montecristo” and “El Patio”, selling “Particulares” to Cifuentes, Pego and Company, firm that owned “Partagas” cigar factory.

When H. Upmann brand was near to be one hundred years of being created, the Menendez Garcia brothers wanted to celebrate inaugurating a new building for his plant. To build it they used the ground occupied by their warehouse on Amistad Street.
In 1960 the enterprise was intervened and remained on Amistad street until was moved to a modern facility on 23rd Street in Vedado, in a building where operated during many years by the Partagas cigarette factory.

Orlando Arteaga Abreu.