Swisher International Group

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Swisher International, Inc. is a leading tobacco manufacturer whose cigars and smokeless tobacco brands include one of the largest-selling cigar brands in the world—Swisher Sweets.

Swisher International has manufactured quality tobacco products since 1861 and ships more than two billion cigars a year to more than 70 countries. The company operates worldwide, with its headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.

For more than a century, Swisher has manufactured numerous cigar products. Their cigar lineups include names like Swisher Sweets, King Edward, Optimo, BlackStone, Pom-Pom and Santa Fe cigars. Swisher's portfolio, in collaboration with Drew Estate, includes a wide range of premium, top-shelf cigars including ACID, Tabak Especial, and La Vieja Habana.

Swisher also manufactures a wide range of smokeless tobacco, including brands Lancaster, Mail Pouch, Chattanooga Chew, and Starr chewing tobacco, in addition to Kayak and Creek moist snuffs. Since 1958, Swisher has offered Swisher Sweets cigars in a variety of tastes and blends including a classic perfecto cigar and popular cigarillos.

Swisher upholds its tradition of industry leadership and innovation by refining and increasing its operations through automation, acquisition, product development, and expansion. Swisher Sweets Original and Diamonds are the #1 and #2 best-selling large cigar in the U.S., according to MSAi Database: 52 Weeks Ending 7/13/19. Together, they account for more volume than the next five competitive large cigar items combined.

Advances in sales techniques have helped to solidify Swisher's reputation for prompt, professional customer service that matches the progress Swisher has made with its product production.  Swisher has won Convenience Store News Category Captain Award for six consecutive years.

Company History[edit]

Swisher traces its roots back to 1861 when David Swisher, a merchant out of Newark, Ohio, received a small cigar business in settlement of a debt. David and his four sons began to sell cigars across the Midwest from their “rolling stores” or wagons. The cigars were rolled by hand everyday in a one-room “manufactury” in Newark.  

In 1888, David's sons, John and Harry, bought the company from their father and renamed it Swisher Brothers. The company experienced great growth, and by 1895 the business had grown into three factories that employed over 1,000 people who hand-rolled as many as 300,000 cigars per day.

In 1913, John bought out his brother, Harry, took on his own son, Carl, and renamed the company to Jno H. Swisher & Son. About ten years later, Carl selected Jacksonville, Florida when looking for a new home for their growing business due to the area's climate, shipping facilities, and proximity to raw materials and markets. Swisher has been headquartered in Jacksonville ever since.

In 1923, Swisher was the first company to order rolling machines, which transformed the business by mass-producing cigars that were superior in uniformity, appearance, and quality.  The “fresh work” machines went into operation in Jacksonville on June 20, 1924, and by the end of the 1920s, Swisher was making 100 million cigars a year.  Swisher was also the first to wrap individual cigars in cellophane and the first to come up with a simple device for removing the cellophane by pulling the cigar band.  

By 1927, the Ohio facilities were closed and consolidated into the Florida operation.  Even during the Depression, business was good and Swisher was hiring hundreds to keep up with the demand for its cigars.  Swisher's hiring record earned the company Forbes magazine's Certificate of Merit for having “the vision, courage, and faith in America’s future to make large investments in the face of Depression problems.”  

During the same period and largely due to its investment in money-saving machinery, Swisher was able to cut the price of its King Edward Cigar from 5 cents each to 2 for 5 cents (it had been introduced in 1918 as a ten-center).  Sales soared, and by the early 1940s, King Edward was the world's number one cigar.  By 1941, the Jacksonville facility was the largest cigar factory in the world under one roof. It also housed the nation's first industrial children's nursery, which opened in 1939.  

In the following years, Swisher expanded by opening other facilities for handling, processing, storing, and shipping the huge quantities of tobacco needed in Jacksonville.  In 1958, the Swisher Sweets brand was introduced, and by 1964, the company was making four million cigars a day that were shipped to all 50 states and to 47 foreign countries.  

During the next twenty years, as the cigar market contracted, Swisher prospered by adding new King Edward and Swisher Sweets products to its line up.  At the same time, the company invested millions of dollars in cost effective automation and process improvements.  

In 1992, Jno Swisher and Son, Inc. changed its name to Swisher International, Inc. to reflect the company's international sales and operations.

In 2014, Swisher acquired Miami-based Drew Estate Tobacco Company that produces a variety of brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural, Nica Rustica, Nirvana Cameroon Selection, Tabak Especial, UnderCrown, and Java by Drew Estate.

As of 2019, Swisher has over 30% of the total large cigar category by volume in the U.S. according to MSAi Database: 52 Weeks Ending 1/26/19.

Company Products[edit]

Swisher offers a wide variety of tobacco products including cigars, filtered cigars and smokeless tobacco brands - https://swisher.com/product-category/cigars-cigarillos/

Cigars/Cigarillos

  • Swisher Sweets Classics: Classic tobacco blends that deliver a satisfying smooth smoke in slow burning cigarillos.
  • Swisher Sweets Limited Edition: Hybrid blends are bold and unique cigarillos that offer the perfect mix of sweet and satisfying. Only available for a limited time.
  • Swisher Sweets Encore Edition: Limited Edition cigars popular with consumers that earn a permanent spot in the product lineup.
  • Swisher Sweets Mini: Cigarillos that combine all the taste of a classic cigarillo in a shorter, slow-burning smoke.
  • Swisher Sweets Leaf: All natural tobacco cigars with a Connecticut broadleaf natural wrapper for a perfectly imperfect cigar.
  • Optimo: Old-school natural leaf cigars that deliver a smooth and mellow experience.
  • Goodies: Cigarillos made with a natural aged Connecticut Shade leaf wrapper to provide a slow, satisfying premium taste.
  • Keep Moving Goodies: Premium natural leaf cigars with deep Louisiana roots.
  • Pom Pom: Authentic cigarillos available in a variety of blends at a value-price.
  • ACID: Premium infused cigarillos with hand selected natural leaf tobacco and classic aromatics.
  • BLK: Hand-selected pipe tobacco tip cigarillos in unforgettable, aromatic blends.
  • BlackStone: Tip cigarillos made with 100 percent pipe tobacco that provide an easy draw that mirrors the vintage pipe experience without the mess.

Premium Large Cigars  

  • In partnership with Drew Estate, Swisher offers a premium portfolio of cigars robust in flavor and engineered for freshness using g-fresh technology so no humidor is needed. Available blends include: Kuba Kuba, Blondie Green, Blondie Gold, Blondie Red, Blondie Maduro, Blondie Blue, Tabak Dulce, Tabak Negra, LVH Corojo, LVH Shade and Gold Strike.

Filtered Cigars

  • Swisher Sweets: Cigars that combine exciting blends with filtered tips for the perfect quick smoke.
  • Santa Fe: Filtered cigars with bold taste and an everyday low price, available in wide range of blends.
  • BlackStone: Filtered cigars that pack a robust pipe aroma in a convenient package and an everyday low price.
  • King Edward: Filtered cigars in distinct blends that carry on a long-standing tobacco tradition.

Smokeless

  • Moist Snuff: Our line of moist snuff tobacco delivers flavor, freshness and value with blends made from the finest quality tobaccos. Available blends include: Kayak Natural, Kayak Wintergreen, Kayak Straight, Creek Straight, Creek Wintergreen, and Creek Natural.
  • Dry Snuff: Rich blends made from the best tobaccos around, in woodsy tones, scotch flavor, or something in between. Available blends: Navy, Honey Bee, Buttercup, Square, Railroad Mills, Society, Superior, and Tops.
  • Chew: Our extensive selection of chewing tobacco has been around for ages, delivering flavor and value for every generation. Available blends: Starr, Starr Peach, Lancaster, Bowie, Mail Pouch, and Chattanooga Chew.

Rolling Papers

  • Hempire: Hempire offers a selection of high-quality hemp rolling paper options priced competitively within the premium hemp rolling paper category. The Hempire rolling paper and rolling paper accessories are manufactured with European expertise using vegan, pesticide-free, and lead-free hemp to deliver a clean smoking experience.

Corporate Executive Management Team[edit]

The executive team at Swisher consists of: John Miller as President; Louis Caldropoli as Chief Operations Officer; Lee Creasman as Senior Vice President of Human Resources & Administration; Glenn Goodroe as Senior Vice President of Operations; Christopher Casey as Senior Vice President and General Counsel; John Haley as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing; Dean Simmons as Vice President of Sales; and Joseph Augustus as Senior Vice President of Global Affairs.

Former president and CEO, Peter Ghiloni, retired from Swisher in 2018 after 34 years with the company and more than 45 years in the tobacco industry.  

Under Ghiloni's leadership as the CEO, Swisher increased sales while expanding its global presence with the establishment of Swisher Dominicana, Inc., the acquisition of Drew Estate, and the formation of alliances in new industries.

Company Headquarters[edit]

Swisher International, Inc. is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. It also has manufacturing facilities in Wheeling, West Virginia and Santiago, Dominican Republic.

References[edit]

  1. A Look Back: Jacksonville-based Swisher International - https://www.jacksonville.com/photogallery/LK/20181207/NEWS/120609981/PH/1
  2. Swisher International - https://cstoredecisions.com/2018/02/09/swisher-international-2/
  3. End of an Era at Swisher International - https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2017/10/12/end-of-an-era-at-swisher-international.html
  4. Swisher International Looks Toward 'Record Growth' With Internal Moves - https://csnews.com/swisher-international-looks-toward-record-growth-internal-moves
  5. Downtown Column - Jacksonville Remains Florida's Cigar Capital - https://www.jacksonville.com/opinion/20180513/downtown-column-jacksonville-remains-floridas-cigar-capital
  6. Swisher International Announces Senior Leadership Changes - https://cstoredecisions.com/2017/10/12/swisher-international-announces-senior-leadership-changes/
  7. Jacksonville cigar maker Swisher International wins reversal of $44.4 million verdict in federal antitrust case - https://www.jacksonville.com/business/2016-11-21/jacksonville-cigar-maker-swisher-international-wins-reversal-444-million-verdict
  8. Swisher International Entering E-Cigarette Market - https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/swisher-international-entering-e-cigarette-market
  9. Bloomberg Business Overview - https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/company/SWR:US?cic_redirect=true
  10. Swisher International Launches New Premium Cigar Division - https://www.cspdailynews.com/tobacco/swisher-international-launches-new-premium-cigar-division
  11. Swisher International Inc. Group Switches Gears - https://www.cigaraficionado.com/article/swisher-international-group-inc-switches-gears-7394
  12. Cigar Craze Fuels Swisher IPO - https://www.questia.com/newspaper/1G1-57501988/cigar-craze-fuels-swisher-ipo
  13. Swisher CEO Ryan to Retire - Ghiloni To Move Up - https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/swisher-ceo-ryan-retiring-ghiloni-move
  14. Swisher Unwraps Expansion Plans - https://www.questia.com/newspaper/1G1-57494761/swisher-unwraps-expansion-plans
  15. Swisher Wins Three FCMA Awards - https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/swisher-wins-three-fcma-awards-manufacturers-association-recognizes-area-companies
  16. Swisher Reaches Sesquicentennial - https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/swisher-reaches-sesquicentennial
  17. First Coast Success - J. Thomas Ryan of Swisher International - https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/first-coast-success-j-thomas-ryan-swisher-international

Additional Information[edit]

The Swisher name has a long-standing history with Jacksonville University since its charter in 1934. Carl S. Swisher was the University's first major donor and benefactor. The Swisher Gymnasium, Swisher Library, and Swisher Theatre illustrate just some of Mr. Swisher's philanthropy. Both Swisher International, Inc. and the Carl S. Swisher Foundation have continued to significantly invest in the vision Mr. Swisher had for the University. Swisher International's executives and employees have been active volunteers across Jacksonville University's campus for the past 75 years.

Swisher Foundation Gives Transformational Gift to Jacksonville University - https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/swisher-foundation-gives-transformational-dollar6-million-to-ju

Jacksonville University Gets $6 Million Gift From Swisher Foundation - https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20180912/jacksonville-university-gets-6-million-gift

External links[edit]