History | Cremo Cigars

Our History

George Washington HillCremo Cigars was founded almost two centuries ago, in the booming borough of Manhattan, New York; when George Washington Hill decided to begin the production of an American made 5¢ cigar. Since its conception, Mr. Hill wanted Cremo to differentiate itself from other cigars; and he achieved this by being the first of very few cigar producers to manufacture cigars using advanced rolling machines. It soon became known that Cremo had a superior quality which was given by it’s usage of fine quality tobacco from the Caribbean Islands.

George Washington Hill firmly believed that his cigars were the best in the market, and their popularity could be further expanded among Americans. He then began to implement several marketing strategies throughout the early 1900’s. His most remarkable idea was to commission the painting of walls and facades that advertised the Cremo brand throughout the nation. This advertising effort was so successful and expansive that some of the original murals can still be seen across the country to this very day.

Bing CrosbyDuring the mid 1930’s, Cremo had strongly established itself as the number one 5¢ Cigar in America. The popularity of the brand was fast tracked when George Washington Hill decided to sponsor the up-and-coming superstar Bing Crosby, who was the number one singer in America at the time, with ten hits in the top fifty charts! Cremo became Crosby’s first of many radio sponsors; they even aired a show called 15 Minutes with Bing Crosby, which transmitted on CBS in New York City from 7:00-7:15pm, 6 times a week. During this time frame, Crosby was known as “The Cremo Singer” with a multitude of cigar commercials running during Crosby’s program.

Cremo’s rise in popularity prompted George Washington Hill to relocate his cigar production line to a larger factory

Cremo moved to South Carolina, which employed large numbers of young, working-class, black and white men and women; making Cremo a pioneer of the time. In fact, the amount of youths laboring in the workplace led to the factory being deemed, “Cremo College.” Thus establishing itself as a firm member of the community.

Sadly, during the 1940’s, Cremo started to slowly disappear from the American market and eventually the brand ceased to exist. Until 2010, when something very special happened for Cremo Cigars. New York City native Walter Santiago, locally known as “Lilo,” decided to acquire the Cremo brand with the bold intention of restoring it’s illustrious name. Like George Washington Hill, Walter wanted Cremo to set itself far apart from other brands, and decided to do this by adopting a different strategy than the old Cremo, hand rolling each cigars in the collection.

Moreover, he decided he would restore Cremo to it previous prestige, while keeping the same core principals: “using the best rolling methods, using great quality tobaccos and never compromising customers for profits.” Eight years later, Cremo Cigars, with Walter Santiago leading the charge, can be seen forging its way through the one of the world's most competitive tobacco markets, Little Havana, Miami; rapidly approaching it’s exultant, triumphant roots as the world’s best cigar brand.

Experience the great taste of Cremo Cigars today!