At Avanti Cigars, the pride we have in the all-American hand-picked tobacco we use is boundless. There’s no doubt that we hold the quality of our tobacco in highest regard. This is why our heritage is the foundation which has made Avanti the favorite of cigar smokers all over the world.
The tobacco we use comes directly from the fields of Kentucky and Tennessee, two states with a long standing history and pride in agriculture and quality tobacco. Both Western Kentucky and Tennessee make up a region that become known as the “The Black Patch,” an area where dark-fired tobacco became the basis for agriculture since the time of settlement. However, many of the farmers at the time believed that they were being treated unfairly, and eventually took up arms to protect their rights.
In 1904, newspapers announced that there was a group of farmers planning to organize against James B. Duke’s American Tobacco Trust in order to alleviate the unjustices being placed upon the agricultural community. They named themselves “The Dark Fired Tobacco District Planters Protective Association of Kentucky and Tennessee,” but to most the simply became know as “The Association.”
By 1906, some members of The Association began meeting secretly anywhere they could including churches, basements, schoolhouses, and even in the middle of the woods. The goal of these vigilantes was to intimidate the other regional farmers to stand up and join The Association in order to have more power against Duke so he would have no other choice but to pay farmers more to buy their tobacco.
Unfortunately, the secret group soon turned to violent acts as methods of persuasion which included whippings, barn burnings, and setting fire to city warehouses that were full of tobacco. They often rode only at night, under the cover of dark hooded masks, wearing white sashes as they terrorized unsuspecting farmers.
Then men became known as the “Night Riders,” and were also called “The Silent Brigade.” The ten years they rode throughout the farmlands of Kentucky and Tennessee are referred to The Tobacco War, and known to be one of the most tumultuous periods of American History between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. In April 1908, a Kentucky National Guard detachment led a series of raids against the Night Riders’ leaders, helping to bring law and order to the region.
Tobacco has been a staple in our country for hundreds of years, and we have a deep respect for its historical significance. We are truly grateful to all those who continue to tend to their crops and provide the rich tobacco that Avanti smokers have enjoyed for so many years.