How did Hiram & Solomon come to be?
My partner and myself are both Freemasons, and we always wondered for many years why there aren’t cigars in the market that carry our symbol.
It took us many years of researching, learning, and getting the right approvals and support, and then one day (five years ago) we decided to roll 1000 cigars to collect money for scholarships.
That was an immediate success among our Masonic Brethren that grew very fast and caught the attention of non-Freemason smokers. Before we knew it, we were labeled as the fastest growing boutique cigar company in the world three years in a row.
How would you characterize your cigar portfolio to someone that hasn’t smoked them before?
Like many other cigar companies, our portfolio consists of 8 lines that range from mild with a kick to full body, but that portfolio could be different from one cigar smoker to another depending on their smoking ritual, areas where they live, and ethnicity.
But in general, we try to appeal to different cigar smokers knowing that it is impossible to please every palate.
As of now, all of our cigars are produced at the famous Plasencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
How intertwined is the tradition of smoking cigars with masonic tradition?
Cigar smoking and Freemasons are very much connected from the very first known meetings, as people that joined the Freemasons at early stages were from the upper class that afforded to join such an organization and buy expensive cigars along with spirits.
Things are a little different right now, but surely the fundamental purposes of creating the Freemasons are still indeed untouched.
For someone that isn’t well versed in Freemasonry, what symbolism or parallels do your cigars draw to your fellowship?
We tried to keep the spirit of our Fraternity and philosophy alive in our brand from naming the cigars, the color of the bands, the size names, each cigar’s strength, the symbols, and the charities supported by our Fraternity such as the Shriners hospitals, dyslexic centers, scholarships, and many other Masonic and non-Masonic charities .
The square and compasses on our band reflect our symbol and the code written in the middle (2B1Ask1) is our way of sending a message that we do not ask anyone to join, but in order for someone to join he has to ask a Mason to do so.
The strengths of our cigars follow the 3 initial degrees that any candidate is required to take in order to be a full member.
The Entered Apprentice (mild with a kick) is our first degree
The Fellow Craft (medium-bodied) is our second degree
The Master Mason (full-bodied) is our third degree
The Traveling Man line (purple band) is just another name that we recognize or call each other, as our purpose in life is to travel to the East, the place of Light and the place of Knowledge.
How hard was it to create a brand that represents a group of members as diverse as the masons?
It took many years of preparation to get approval and support from Grand Lodges.
Many took us very lightly at the beginning, and many factories including brand names refused to talk to us. Many others called us a gimmick, saying that we will disappear in a very short time. Few believed in us. Retailers refused to talk to us and some even refused to smoke one of our cigars.
But, we knew what we were up against and that we had the support of the Brethren that stood behind us knowing that we have a brand that represents and matches the quality and caliber of the members themselves.
A few years and lots of mistakes later, we are still here stronger than ever, growing faster than expected, and now we have factories trying to approach us, retailers calling us, and cigar smokers looking for our cigars.
We did not create Freemasonry neither invented cigars, but we surely mastered the art of combining both.
I’ve heard that a portion of sales is donated to charities. Would you mind elaborating on that?
One of our first fundamental principles of our Fraternity is Charity.
Freemasons in the USA alone donate over 3 millions dollars A DAY to multiple charities such as the Shriners Hospitals, dyslexic centers, heart organizations, eyes centers, scholarships, and many others along with donating and volunteering their time and efforts.
As such, part of our proceeds goes directly to multiple charities as mentioned above. We pledge to continue doing that and grow it every year.
What are three things that most people don’t know about you personally or your brand?
Let’s start with our Brand
- Our Brand is not just for Freemasons but for everyone. That’s why we created the hashtag #every1cigars
- We are a charity-oriented cigar company
- Hiram &Solomon Cigar Company has one thing that none of the cigar companies have, and that the support of our Brethren worldwide
As far as myself, I am available for all to reach.
What can fans of Hiram & Solomon look forward to in the next 12-18 months?
- More commitment to excellence than ever before
- Reaching more countries and making our Brand available for all
- More swags and items
- Our promise to become a household cigar brand
- So, I invite cigar smokers to #discoveroursecrets