When it comes to the cigar industry, David Garofalo, owner of United Cigar Group, has his hands in numerous projects. First, he co-founded Two Guys Smoke Shop in 1985 in Somerville, Massachusetts. At the time, as the name implies, it was just two guys selling cigars, David and his brother John. It didn’t take long for demand to exceed the small 200 sq ft shop, so the Garofalo brothers moved operations to a new store in the same town which was twice the size. Within a few years, they added stores in East Boston and Everett, Massachusetts.
In 1996, Two Guys hit a speedbump that would turn into a great opportunity. This was the year that Massachusetts began taxing cigars. But don’t think for a second that the Garofalos didn’t push back, although to no avail. After a one-off tango to challenge this new tax, which they lost, Two Guys rolled the dice and moved operations over the border to Salem, New Hampshire, where there was no such tax. It was here that the Two Guys operation set up shop in a 2,500 sq foot space and continued to grow.
Massachusetts would increase the cigar tax by another 30% in 2002, and many smokers began making the 30-mile pilgrimage across the border to New Hampshire to score smoke at the Two Guys Smoke Shop. It didn’t take long for the brothers to once more outgrow their current space, so they purchased a whopping 8,000 sq ft building, and business was better than ever.
Never one to sit still, in 2010, David launched The Cigar Authority—a podcast and internet video show. On the show, a group of cigar experts smoke, discuss, and judge cigars. The Cigar Authority has gained a devout following and is said to be the highest-ranked cigar podcasts in the world.
Enough background, already. Let’s get into the cigars.
David Garofalo founded United Cigars in 2012. The company creates brands of their own, collaborates with highly respected master blenders like José “Don Pepin” García (of My Father cigars fame), and serves as the U.S. Distributor for Nelson Alfonso's Selected Tobacco brands. If you're not familiar with the name Nelson Alfonso, chances are you've seen his design work for brands like Cohiba, Padrón, Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo, and others.
According to the United Cigar Group website regarding David, “He’s not a cigar maker with a history of a Cuban family that has been growing and cultivating tobacco for generations. He does not wear a fancy hat, or ride a horse or wear a Guevara shirt like all the cliche ads in the cigar magazines. He is David Garofalo, an Italian American that was born and brought up in inner-city Boston, a man who has spent over 30 years as a cigar retailer and is obsessed with cigars.”
So yeah, the guy doesn’t fit any of the traditional molds we’ve come to expect from a cigar maker.
Under the United Cigars umbrella are several brands you may know. One is the innovative United Cigars Firecracker, a 3 x 50 short format cigar with a pigtail resembling a firecracker fuse created in collaboration with Don Pepin García. Another is the United Cigars Bandolero Aventureros, created by Nelson Alfonso, which uses a complex Ecuadorian Habano wrapper to deliver a wide range of flavors while keeping everything balanced.
United Cigars is nothing, if not determined. We look forward to enjoying what they come up with next.
Please browse our selection of United Cigars at your leisure.