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Red Anchor Cigars to Relaunch at PCA 2022 – Celebrate 250th Anniversary

May 23, 2022 By Matthew Tabacco



Boutique Cigar is a term overused in the cigar industry today, but as you look through history, there is no denying the Red Anchor cigar was the first boutique and cigar brand ever. Today United Cigar is proud to announce Red Anchor’s triumphant return at the Premium Cigar Association Trade Show July 9-12, 2022 in Las Vegas, to celebrate the Red Anchor cigar’s 250th Anniversary.

Red Anchor was the first registered Trademark for a cigar shop (1770) and later the first cigar brand in history (1772). In 2022 it will be Red Anchor’s 250th Anniversary.

Albertus Hillen Sigarenfabriek established the Red Anchor Factory and Cigar Brand in Delft, Holland. On February 22, 1772, legal permission was granted from the Aldermen of the Municipality of Delft, for Albertus to sell his cigar brand under the Red Anchor name.

After the death of Albertus in 1834, his wife Anna Maria van Spreeuwenburg continued the business for four years until her death in 1838. The brand was then passed on to their daughter, Sara Jacoba Elizabeth and her husband Johannes Petrus de Lange, who acquired the possessions of the Red Anchor factory and Red Anchor cigar brand. Circa 1890’s, upon the sale to Martinus Hioolen, a new strategy was put into place to form a network of stores to sell the brand throughout all major Dutch cities, along with the importing of Cuban cigars for distribution.

In 1909 the latest machines were used to ensure that the process of making cigars could already partly be done mechanically. Hygiene was of paramount importance and special tin packaging allowed cigars to become a widespread export.

Next, more than a hundred branches, spread throughout the Netherlands, began selling Red Anchor cigars making the Netherlands the epicenter of the cigar world.

In 1922 Red Anchor celebrated a milestone; the anniversary celebration “150-Year-Old and New Taste” was introduced, and all tobacco shops were closed for the event on February 22nd and 23rd. However, when annual reports came out there was less reason to cheer. An overabundance of tobacco manufacturing licenses had been issued creating more competition.

When manufacturing licenses were awarded to home workers, a new law on excise taxes was implemented. The excise taxes were unfair to companies like Red Anchor as home workers were able to circumvent the law. The Minister of Finance acknowledged the fraudulent practices needed necessary changes, but it did little to help Red Anchor.

In 1928 the success of Red Anchor was gradually deteriorating due to burdening costs. To improve the situation, production was increased, resulting in larger stocks of raw materials and finished products. The increased excise taxes caused cashflow shortages. An accounting firm was asked to investigate the possibilities for liquidation or reorganization; creditors were asked to settle for partial payments and a new bond was issued.

In June 1929, meetings were held with shareholders. Headlines in the newspaper read “The End Is Near,” as Red Anchor continued to hold on. In 1935 new machines were bought, new staff recruited, and a small profit was made, yet this could not turn the tide. The new machines did not meet expectations, under delivering on quality of the past and causing draw issues. By March 1937 the business was closed.

In September 1972, the already abandoned building was burnt down in its entirety. The colorful, but smoky history of Red Anchor was literally “up in smoke” until now.

In July 2022, the 250th Anniversary of Red Anchor will take place at the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) in Las Vegas, as United Cigar has purchased the trademark and rights of the Red Anchor brand.

“Four years have passed since the start of this project. Every aspect of Red Anchor has been carefully crafted to properly encapsulate the 250-year history,” said Oliver Nivaud of United Cigars. “Working closely with Hendrik Kelner and the KBF team has been very smooth, this is a perfect marriage.”

Red Anchor is alive once more as United Cigar has partnered with the Kelner Family to blend the cigars. The Kelner family has not only had a wonderful and impressive history of cigar making in the Dominican Republic, but their roots are from Holland where Red Anchor began. They will give Red Anchor the attention and respect it deserves, making them the perfect partner in this project.

The initial launch will be limited to 250 boxes of 25 cigars. The 2022 production will come in one vitola, a 6 x 54 called the Admiral with a suggested retail price of $25.00 per cigar or $625 per box. Red Anchor is medium plus in body and medium in strength, with the blend being announced at the PCA Trade Show. Retailers are encouraged to stop by United Cigars (Booth 361) for a sample and discuss the blend. Future vitolas are planned for 2023.

Be sure to tune in over the up coming weeks leading up to and during the week of the PCA trade show. We will be bringing you coverage of everything to be expected and what actually makes it to the show for this year.

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