The founder of the Oliva Cigar Company Gilberto Oliva Sr. has passed away at the age of 86. His family started their tobacco roots in Cuba, in 1886. During the Cuban revolution in the mid 1950’s he fled like many others at that time. He began working as a tobacco broker in Nicaragua, where he again fled in the 1970’s due to their revolution.
It was here that Gilberto returned to Nicaragua in 1995 and started his own brand of cigars. When the cigar boom started to slow down he focused most of his attention to the growing operation. In 2006 he launched what would become one of the most popular premium cigars in the world the Oliva Serie V. Shortly thereafter he started the Cain and Nub cigars, which were a big switch, from his traditional cigars.
In just two decades he was able to grow his company to one largest in the world with factories in Esteli securing a presence in Euorpe.
“This is a very difficult time for the Oliva family. Gilberto Oliva Sr. is the patriarch of our company and his legacy will never end,” said Cory Bappert, vp of sales for Oliva Cigar Co., in a text message to halfwheel. “Please keep the Oliva family in your thoughts and prayers.”
While most consumers know Oliva for its cigarmaking, Gilberto Sr. was a prolific tobacco grower. The family retained its growing operations when it sold to J.Cortès. (There is another company, Oliva Tobacco Co., that is unrelated to Gilberto Sr.’s family.)
In early 2016, he was honored by the Asociación Nicaragüense de Tabacaleros, the Nicaraguan Tobacco Association, with a lifetime achievement award.
Gilberto Sr. is survived by his wife, five children and 14 grandchildren.
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