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Grauer Journal

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Pedro Murias and La Meridiana

A return to the history of one of the largest and most important 19th-century Habanos factories.

Pedro Murias is an important name in the history of the Habanos, which is yet little known to a wide audience. Founder of multiple cigar brands, he has immortalized himself in a beautiful factory La Meridiana that is situated right in the center of the old Havana. The name of the proud owner was to be found on its facade - "La Meridiana Fabrica de Tabacos de Pedro Murias". Its beautiful post-colonial-style architecture with elaborated decorations is part of the much appraised Cuban cultural heritage. However, once grandiose and prosperous, the building has not been renovated for decades and is today used as apartments for the locals.

Pedro Murias started his way in the tobacco industry in 1860s by opening a small cigar workshop in Havana. Over the next two decades his business acquired a strong reputation and consequently gained an international success: cigars manufactured by Murias were in demand for their excellent quality. With fast-growing manufacturing capacities, operating facilities required more space, and in 1882 a new two-storied factory, La Meridiana, was inaugurated. The principal railway station, located in the neighboring district, facilitated the delivery of the raw material - tobacco leaves - from the region Vuelta Abajo to the factory.

Among cigars, produced at La Meridiana, were Pedro Murias’ own brands: Balmoral, Flor de los Campos de Cuba, Beauregard, Inflexible and others, and also those of his family members, Antonio and Félix Murias: La Devesa, La Flor de Murias or Flor de Mazo.

Starting from 1897, the political situation in Cuba became more and more unstable, and cigar industry got affected as well. The War of Independence against Spanish colonialism made the business impossible for Don Murias. In order not to lose everything in the end, he decided, shortly after the end of the war, to sell some of his brands and his factory to the English company Henry Clay and Bock Ltd. In 1904 it got acquired by the Americans and was transformed into a warehouse. The factory continued to play an important role as in the 20th century it hosted the headquarters of the brand El Rey del Mundo.

A keen aficionado, Pedro Murias stayed in the cigar business and installed a small production in the outskirts of Havana. Before his death in 1906 he transferred the ownership to his relative Eduardo Suárez Murias who managed the remains of the Murias’ cigar empire.

To learn more about this great cigar manufacturer, we are delighted to invite you to our Art and Culture area, where you will find exclusive pieces - original construction plans of the famous Meridiana factory as well its historic photos. You will also discover the printing plates and vistas of different cigar brands produced by Don Pedro Murias.

(Parts from our private collection)

For more information, contact us on +41 22 552 2799