About Darrin Hildebrand
I am an Ohio native. I owned and operated a cigar shop for a decade in Sandusky, Ohio. During this time, my passion grew for every aspect of the industry, from growing the tobacco to the burn of a fine rolled, fresh cigar. The cigar shop slowly converted to where it was most of my own blends. The demand for my product was great so I made the decision to start my own cigar line, Great Lakes Cigars.
I have moved my cigar shop to Norwalk, Ohio where my distribution center and my rolling table reside.
How it began
I began enjoying a good smoke when I was in my 20’s. Back then, my job took me from town to town, state to state so I took advantage in my travels to explore any cigar shop along the way.
My brother operates a small farm and I took a piece of the property and grew a few tobacco plants to understand every aspect of my new found passion, from growing and harvesting the plants, to drying and fermenting the leaves, and finally teaching myself to roll a fine cigar.
I eventually spent some time in Austin, Texas with a Cuban man who helped me refine the process while sharing stories of growing up in Cuba. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time traveling to the tobacco fields of Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.