The story of Warfighter Tobacco began in places like Mosul and Tikrit, Iraq, during the initial US invasion of 2003. There, the four men who would eventually found Warfighter –– Scott Jansen, Jon Simmons, Bryan Bettey, and Chris Ferdico, all served within several hundred miles of each other –– though they didn’t know it yet. It was there that they experienced the conflict that would affect them for the rest of their lives. It was also where they developed a love of cigars.
For Ferdico, cigars took on a new dimension once he had experienced life on the front lines. “It (cigar smoking) was about camaraderie. It was about celebrating a mission well done. It was about taking a moment to step back and pull your bootstraps up when you failed. Once the war started, these experiences became more profound. We smoked when we honored our Fallen.”
However, it wasn’t until some 13 years later that Warfighter Tobacco began to take shape.
The Origins of a Veteran-Run Brand
Like most great ideas, Warfighter Tobacco was born over drinks. Jansen and Ferdico went to Las Vegas to meet with other Veteran entrepreneurs and, after a few whiskeys, got to talking about the cigar industry. When Jansen floated the idea of getting involved in a cigar business, Ferdico encouraged him and said he knew everything you needed to know about cigars. “In that moment, I was confusing the fact that I smoked a lot of cigars with expertise in the cigar industry,” Ferdico said.
However, what Ferdico and the rest of the Warfighter crew lacked in experience, they more than made up for in tenacity and drive. What’s more, Ferdico rightly identified an issue with the cigar industry. Though cigar companies had many connections with Veterans, few in the industry truly understood what life was like for them. “While they loved to advertise to us, the truth is, they didn’t know how to communicate with us. After all, premium cigars are a luxury product, but for what I respectfully refer to as the blue-collar cigar community, the luxury nature of cigars is irrelevant. I was weary of being advertised to while no one (and not just the cigar industry) was taking meaningful time to understand us,” Ferdico said.
And so, Warfighter Tobacco endeavored to fill that void.
Warfighter Tobacco 101
While the military is at the heart of Warfighter’s DNA, the brand offers a wide range of high-quality cigars for consumers of all varieties. Warfighter purposely tries to appeal to smokers of all stripes, from the big and bold .50 Cal Garrison Oscuro Maduro to the pleasantly spicy 5.56 MM Field Connecticut Shade. “We have been fortunate to have had experience with two outstanding factories in Nicaragua. That being said, we understand that not everyone will like a particular cigar. We strive to make sure that is a matter of preference and not a matter of quality,” Ferdico said.
Warfighter Gives Back
Charity is an essential facet of the Warfighter brand, and the company works closely with a non-profit organization called Cigars For Warriors to provide premium cigars and accessories to US troops serving in active combat zones. You can donate to that cause here.
Warfighter has also launched a cigar called the Heroes Sports Cigars. A dollar from every Heroes Sports Cigar sold benefits the nonprofit Heroes Sports –– which helps Veterans address, manage, and begin healing visible and invisible wounds through team sports, sporting events, and guided outdoor activities.
“Heroes Sports is a charitable organization that helps provide a solution to that very issue. They bring Veterans together through sports, adventures, and physical challenges that get us working together to accomplish something meaningful. I cannot do their mission justice, but they have helped us and many of those we respect, and we wanted to help them. We believe in their mission so much that we wanted to create a permanent way to support them,” Ferdico said.
You can shop the brand here.
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