We look back
on 130 years VILLIGER.
The first foundations of the VILLIGER company were laid
The businessman Jean Villiger, then 28 years old, founded a cigar factory named Villiger in his own home in Pfeffikon in 1888. Above all, he had the support of his wife, Louise Villiger, who led the company after his early death in 1902.
A strong woman at the helm
In 1907, Louise Villiger had sensational success: she launched the Villiger Kiel brand to market: the first cigar with the famous quill mouthpiece.
Growth through expansion into Germany
In 1910, she founded a subsidiary, the modern Villiger Söhne GmbH, in Waldshut-Tiengen in Germany, and with that launched Swiss quality onto the international market.
The Villiger brothers assume management of the company
In 1918, the brothers Hans and Max Villiger assumed management of the company and renamed it Villiger Söhne. Together they quickly stimulated the growth of the company. They built subsidiary plants in Munich and Schönaich, as well as many branches in rural areas. The very successful RIO 6 products, known above all in the Wehrmacht, and Villiger Export, as well as others, can be traced back to the brothers.
The war takes its toll
The Second World War (1939-1945) then took its toll on the company, and for a time development came to a standstill. In 1943, an American bombing raid destroyed both factories in Munich. Furthermore, the factory in Waldshut-Tiegen had to close down for a year during the arrival of the French occupation in 1945.
The company gets an addition to the family
The time for rebuilding factories in Munich began in 1950 and the company pursued its ambitious expansion goals. In addition, there was family support in the company: Heinrich Villiger, the oldest son of Max Villiger, become involved in the company.
VILLIGER carries on within the family
Heinrich Villiger initially assumed responsibility for the purchase of raw tobacco and, when Hans Villiger retired in 1954, Heinrich succeeded him. Heinrich Villiger was appointed to be manager of Villiger Söhne GmbH in Waldshut-Tiengen just four years later.
One company – one family
Following Max Villiger, a 25-year-old Kasper Villiger joined the company. In 1967, Monika Villiger, too, became a part of the Villiger Söhne company as the export manager. The three siblings opened another factory in Berlin, took over all the companies and brought new products to the market. In the meantime, the company even sold the enormously popular Villiger bicycles.
GOLD for VILLIGER
In 1976, the company was the first cigar factory to sponsor a Formula 1 Team. This decision was a golden one, in the truest sense of the word. A short time later, the Shadow Racing Team with driver Alan Jones won the Grand Prix in Zeltweg/Austria. The sponsored car with Tabatip and Villiger Kiel markings was shown and was mentioned repeatedly in the media.
The ‘Tobacco city, Bünde, becomes VILLIGER’s centre of production
From 1983 onwards, production was continued only in the new factory in Bünde, with gradual closing down of the previous plants in Berlin, Bünde, Munich, and Heidenheim.
Joint Venture Company for Cuban Cigars
In 1989, 5th AVENUE PRODUCTS TRADING GmbH was founded as a German-Cuban joint venture for the exclusive distribution of Cuban cigars in Germany, later also expanding to Austria and Poland (2012).
Cuban Cigars in Switzerland
INTERTABAK AG was founded in 1995 and is the official and exclusive direct importer of Habanos cigars and Mini Cubanos (cigarillos) for Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. By now, they distribute 26 Habanos brand families with around 300 different formats and packages, which are mainly offered in tobacco specialist shops.
EL MUNDO DEL TABACO IMPORT GmbH founded
The company was responsible for importing non-Cuban premium cigars and was integrated into Villiger Söhne GmbH a decade later.
VILLIGER brings a strong brand to market
It wasn’t only the success story of the strong cigarillo brand CONSTELLATION that began in 1999, but in this year a subsidiary company, PT. VILLIGER TOBACCO INDONESIA, was also founded. Tobacco leaves are pre-processed on-site here for production. Monika Villiger left the company in the same year to begin her well-deserved retirement.
After the turn of the millennium, VILLIGER gained international momentum. The founding of distribution companies in the USA (VILLIGER NORTH AMERICA) followed by France in 2006 (VILLIGER FRANCE SARL) marks a clear company goal to establish the brand worldwide.
VILLIGER goes Brazil
The construction of a plant in Brazil for the production of handmade cigars began in 2013. At the same time, the company had already celebrated its 125-year anniversary, which was celebrated with a new cigar called Villiger Celebration. The exact composition of this cigar remains a secret to this day.
The Villiger cigar tradition celebrates its 130th anniversary
Five years later Heinrich Villiger remains the stable head of Villiger Söhne Holding, and can look back at 130 years of a successful company history and family tradition.