Hurricane Ian Disrupts Florida, Epicenter Of U.S. Cigar Industry

Hurricane Ian Disrupts Florida, Epicenter Of U.S. Cigar Industry
One of the most powerful storms to ever hit Florida, Hurricane Ian, brought destructive winds and floodwaters from both sea and air across the state, where many of America’s cigarmakers make their headquarters. At least 19 people have been confirmed dead in Florida so far, a number that is almost certain to grow. Some two million people remain without power, and the storm is moving toward South Carolina for a third landfall—it also ravaged Cuba.

Cigar Aficionado reached out to Florida’s cigarmakers to discuss the impact of the storm.

Naples Rocky Patel Premium Cigars was hit extremely hard by the storm—the company makes its headquarters in Naples, only a few miles from Cayo Coco, where Hurricane Ian made landfall.

“People are just in shock here—everybody expected it to go north of us. This thing turned and it just sat here…the water started coming in…damage is pretty bad,” Rocky Patel says. “My mailbox was under the water. There’s no power, there’s no water. The office has no power—I don’t know when we’re going to be able to go in there. It might be weeks. Thank God everybody is ok. We haven’t had any issues with people getting hurt.”

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