The world’s oldest cigar manufacturer turns 90
Pfeffikon/LU, May 25, 2020 – At the age of 90, Heinrich Villiger is the oldest cigar entrepreneur who is still active – not only in Switzerland. Meanwhile, Villiger Söhne GmbH in Waldshut-Tiengen, the German subsidiary, is celebrating its 110th anniversary. There will be no festivities due to coronavirus.
“I have experienced and accomplished a lot in my life. I have also been spared the coronavirus so far – on my 90th birthday”, says cigar manufacturer Heinrich Villiger. There will be no private birthday party nor a company anniversary party. “We can celebrate at home or later on. At the moment we are strictly observing the government guidelines so as not to endanger employees or family members,” stresses Heinrich Villiger.
For Villiger, the most crucial points of his long career (1950 – 2020) are:
- The internationalization of the company
- The evolution from a manufacturer of machine-made cigars to a global producer of cigarillos and premium cigars
- The holdings in the import of Havana cigars for the countries Germany, Austria, Poland, and Switzerland
132 years of Villiger in Switzerland and 110 years of Villiger in Germany
Villiger is a company that has proven itself in crises, has toughened up after decades of constant struggle against the militant WHO and those that oppose the enjoyment of a good cigar. The reason being, cigars and cigarettes cannot be lumped together. “Despite the demonization of tobacco, we are well-positioned and have opened a new company in 2018 in Brazil to produce handmade cigars. Cigars are age-old cultural assets and sophisticated luxury goods,” emphasizes Heinrich Villiger.
What started as Jean Villiger in Pfeffikon/LU in 1888 with a small cigar factory has now become a long-standing international company with around 1600 employees. The Villiger Group is now one of the top ten in the industry worldwide. It supplies its cigars and cigarillos to more than 80 countries.
The company is now in its third generation. Moreover, it is an essential factor in the international cigar industry thanks to consistent brand management, global focus, and innovative products.
Founded in 1888, the Villiger Group is a Swiss family business in its third and fourth generation, which operates internationally in the tobacco industry. The group employs around 1,600 people worldwide and has an annual turnover of around CHF 200 million. The production in Switzerland is located in Pfeffikon/LU. The manufacturing facilities of the German subsidiary Villiger Söhne GmbH are located in Waldshut-Tiengen (Baden-Württemberg) and Bünde/Dünne (Westphalia). Villiger do Brasil in São Gonçalo dos Campos (Bahia) produces hand-rolled premium cigars. PT. Villiger Tobacco Indonesia on the island of Java processes tobacco wrappers for production in Europe. Villiger North America, Inc. is responsible for distribution in the United States, the world’s largest cigar market.