Have you ever tried an authentic Cuban cigar? Do you know all the skills that go into tobacco rolling? Ybor city is widely known for its abundance of cigar shops, especially the giant factory that’s been standing since 1910. J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is America’s oldest family owned premium cigar maker, many Tampa natives are familiar with the giant watch tower standing above 16th street. After major renovations in 2020 they are opening their doors to the public to get a hands on experience of cigar-rolling (no pun intended.) The 112 year-old factory recently expanded their museum and retail store, they also added a hand-rolling area, and many interactive experiences. One of those experiences includes learning a honored skill from professional cigar rollers.

There is definitely an artform to rolling cigars, so don’t expect to leave the class knowing everything there is to know about the special skill. Bay News 9 interviewed with Luis Martinez, a professional cigar roller at J.C. Newman and he stated that it takes about “a year-and-a-half to go through the training” to become a master at cigar rolling. J.C. Newman offers not only hand-rolling classes but also tours of the factory, giving individuals the opportunity to get an understanding of how to roll, and about the company’s and Tampa’s culture and history.

This class is great for bachelor parties, team building skills, or just for learning something new. You can experience this authentic tradition by booking a tour or hand-rolling training session by going to the company’s website. Keep in mind that J.C. Newman Cigar Company is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and are closed Saturday and Sunday.

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