Making Our Smokeless Products

Our processing facility is in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, which is where we receive from local farmers only the finest dark-fired and dark air-cured tobacco that is used in our products. We use 100 percent American-grown tobacco in our leading brands.

We blend and store that tobacco in hogshead barrels for aging over three to five years. Finally, it's transported to our plants where all of our brands are manufactured, packaged and shipped for distribution. We have manufacturing operations in Nashville, Tennessee and Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Maturing


mature tobacco in field

Tobacco matures around early August.

Harvesting


detail of farmer wearing gloves holding mature tobacco leaf 

Workers use special knives to cut the tobacco stalk at the base of the plant.

detail of tobacco being harvested from field

After the tobacco has been cut, workers lay it in rows in the field so they can collect it.

Hanging


farm workers hanging tobacco leaves on spikes

The "hanging" process follows. The tobacco is spiked through the stalk with wooden sticks, fitted with spears, allowing the tobacco plant to rest on the stick. Once the tobacco has been spiked, workers load it onto scaffold wagons to take it to the curing barn.

Curing


hanging tobacco leaves being loaded into curing barn by tractors

Tobacco cures in a barn or shady area to prevent burning or blistering. At this point, plant wilting is a desirable trait.

Housing


farm workers housing hanging tobacco to top of barn

The housing process is very labor-intensive. Workers line up and pass the tobacco sticks from the wagon to the top of the barn.

After the tobacco has been housed, the farmer waits for it to turn yellow which indicates the crop is ready for the firing process.

Firing


farmer standing in firing barn with hardwood floors and hardwood sawdust

Hardwood slabs are placed throughout the floor of the barn and covered with hardwood sawdust. The number of hardwood slabs in the barn will determine the amount of heat. The amount of heat needed depends on the climate.

silhouette of farmer in smoky firing barn

The sawdust is placed over the slabs to create a smoldering, smoky condition. Firing generally occurs from September through November. The tobacco producer must become an expert in firing in order to maintain a successful crop.

detail of hanging dried tobacco leaves among smoke

The firing process is critical because the smoke sticks to the tobacco and gives the tobacco flavor. Once the tobacco reaches a certain color and acquires the proper amount of "finish," the firing process is complete. "Finish" is the amount of smoke and flavor on the tobacco.

Purchasing


detail of company representative inspecting tobacco leaves

Company representatives inspect the tobacco for grade and quality.

Packing


freshly unpacked tobacco from hogsheads

Once purchased, the tobacco is delivered to our facility in Hopkinsville, Ky. The tobacco is sorted by grade and processed. Once the tobacco is processed, it's placed in wooden barrels or "hogsheads" and aged before we create the final product.

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