Est. 1882

1-888-john hay

John Hay

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A nice review on our PA Statesman Series

The Pennsylvania series utilizes tobacco grown in Lancaster and York counties and is available in a variety of flavors (as well as natural and maduro). The cigars are rolled one-at-a-time by hand-fed machines in McSherrystown, Adams County. The McSherrystown factory produces more than 1,000 cigars during a two- to three-week period. Then they have to age. “My basement has become a humidor,” David said. The Ambassador series is produced in the Dominican Republic, using Cuban seeds. “Most people won’t touch cigars unless they’re imported,” David said. So, that’s why they began the new line. And since recently introducing that line, more than 6,000 have been imported and sold.

Throughout the year and the country, the Patricks will set up booths to sell their cigars. One of the events he enjoys the most is Sippin’ By The River. Sippin’ By The River is held on Festival Pier in Philadelphia, and features fine wines and beers, gourmet food and live entertainment and cigars. The event benefits the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. “Doing the shows is what it’s all about,” said David. But one of David’s favorite anecdotes is of when an Amish man walked up to their booth and started looking over their cigars. After milling about, he asked where the tobacco originated. Lancaster County, David said. The Amish man asked how much they were. When David said they were $12 for a five pack, the Amish man said that was too expensive and he could just roll his own. So, David gave him one on the house.

​Business has tripled for the Patricks each year from 2004 to the present. Lauren cut her hours working for Lincoln Financial back to part time and David, who designs hospital pharmacies for Lionville Systems, is hoping to do the same. “If this year goes as planned,” he said, “the cigar company will become our full-time jobs. "Mark Patton, an Oxford resident likes smoking John Hay Cigars while playing poker at the Octoraro Hotel & Tavern. “I started smoking on my 40th birthday,” he said. He said he likes the idea that the cigars are locally grown and the company locally owned. “Vanilla is my favorite flavor,” Patton said, “I totally enjoy it. "To contact staff writer Justin McAneny, send an e-mail to

There are a few changes to the article but it is posted as it was published

Up in smoke

​Local cigar company traces roots back to Lincoln
By JUSTIN McANENY Staff Writer

Despite smoking bans taking effect locally, John Hay Cigars still provides homegrown smoke for people across the world.The company, owned by David and Lauren Patrick of West Caln, traces its roots back to 1882 when W.W. Stewart started the company in Newmanstown, Lebanon County. The cigars are named after statesman John Hay, assistant private secretary to Abraham Lincoln and ambassador to Great Britain from 1898 to 1905.Hay, after receiving and enjoying cigars from Stewart, gave permission for a line to be named after him.

​The cigars were manufactured in Reading into the 1930s (1950s), but succumbed to “more fashionable cigarettes,” according to the company’s Web site. In the early 1990s, Stewart’s great-grandson Craig Stewart restarted the company. Then, in 2004, he retired and sold it to the Patricks. Lauren is Craig Stewart’s sister-in-law. The Patricks blew on the ember and business is smoking. “We fly around the country to cigar get togethers ... we try to get the cigars to the people,” Lauren said. The company boasts an international audience, too. “We have clients in France, the U.K. and Canada,” Lauren said. “We even ship them to New Zealand. We have a client there named Sir John Hay ... but he’s no relation. "Locally, John Hay Cigars holds cigar parties at the Octoraro Hotel & Tavern in Oxford, and will soon be hosting them at Harry’s in Sadsbury, during ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) stock car races.

This year, John Hay Cigars is sponsoring Bobby Gerhart’s number 5 car, which won a race at Daytona on Feb. 11 for a record-setting fifth year in a row (3rd year in a row, 5th win overall).In addition to the race car, John Hay Cigars sponsors the Reading Royal’s ice hockey team. Last season, the Patricks were approached by the hockey team to sponsor a guy’s night out event. And this season decided to become full sponsors. “It’s a lot of work,” Lauren said, “but it’s also a lot of fun.”But before the cigars are lit, the tobacco has to be grown. John Hay Cigars offers two product lines: the Pennsylvania Series and the Ambassador Series.

Daily Local News February 25, 2007