Nurturing tobacco plants is in our family's blood. More than 125 years ago -- as the telephone and electric light were still futuristic ideas -- the Baileys began to sow tobacco in the fertile Virginia soil.
It was Cornelius Bailey who first planted the prized crop to support his family. Since then, the Baileys have passed the land from generation to generation, building one of the largest tobacco operations in Virginia. In fact, Cornelius' great-grandson Mac Bailey still oversees much of the day-to-day farming activities.
America's Tobacco Heritage Still Lives.
Since the early 1600's, tobacco has been vital to America's economic growth. A relative of garden flowers and vegetables, it grows heartily in the mid-Atlantic climate and soil. At the same time, tobacco was a valuable export, helping finance the American Revolution. In fact, tobacco was so precious that early colonists often substituted tobacco leaves for cash.
After the Civil War, tobacco was the backbone of agricultural enterprise in America, allowing this nation to begin rebuilding. That's when the Bailey family started working the land.
Achieving Our Family's Dreams.
"Each year, when I brought the tobacco to auction, I felt a sort of emptiness," explains Mac Bailey. "I'd sow the seeds, watch it grow, and harvest it...but I wasn't satisfied. I wanted to try to complete the process. I wanted to produce a great cigarette."
In 1994, the Bailey family took that chance. Mac's son Steven created a special blend of 40 different types of tobacco that provided the incredibly rich, satisfying flavor he and his father had dreamed about.
Best of all, Steven was able to accomplish this goal by using 100% American-grown flue and burley tobaccos. The addition of a small amount of Oriental tobacco enhances Bailey's distinctive flavor and aroma and creates an "American-blend" cigarette. Frankly, we don't know of any other major brand that's this committed to using U.S. tobacco.
Even without the low-grade filler tobacco many brands rely upon, by managing the entire process -- from seed to cigarette -- the family knew we could keep the cost per pack low.
Mac and Steven invested in basic equipment and a few key employees. Production began down the road from the farm, in an old school house Mac attended as a boy. Starting with just a few cartons a week, the dream was taking shape.