Hail & Cotton History

Over 100 years ago, when Louisville flourished as the largest hogshead tobacco market in the world, Hail & Cotton began as a partnership between E.A. Hail of Adairville, Ky. and M.R. Cotton of Madisonville, Ky.

The two made an ideal pair. Widely respected as a “tobacco expert,” Hail was considered one of the best judges of tobacco in the United States. Cotton brought his financial and marketing expertise to the partnership, structuring the company’s buying and sales efforts to the export market.

When the company incorporated in 1923, Hail was the first president until his death in 1928, when Cotton then assumed the reins of the company.

The first Hail & Cotton direct packing operation was established in 1924 in Clarksville, Tenn. With skilled leadership and tireless effort from employees, the company survived the Great Depression with uninterrupted service to its customers.

As sales increased, a second factory was built in 1932 in Springfield, Tenn., producing primarily Dark Fire Cured and Dark Air Cured tobaccos. During this same period Hail & Cotton participated in the export trade of Burley tobacco.

In 1937, Cotton retired from active participation in Hail & Cotton and remained Chairman of the Board until his death in 1943. Building on his legacy of leadership and service, Hail & Cotton expanded its operations to include Flue Cured tobacco in 1945, and it quickly became a reliable supplier throughout Europe.

In 1967 the company purchased the Fields Tobacco Co. facilities in Rocky Mount, N.C., adding threshing capability to service domestic strip orders. North Carolina capabilities were further upgraded with the joint-venture purchase of the China American dealer operation and the Eastern Processors processing facility.

In 1974 a new processing/storage complex was built in Springfield, Tenn. to service the dark tobacco business. Today, the facility provides the most complete range of processing capabilities of any factory in the Dark Fire Cured/Dark Air Cured arena, with the ability to pack redried bundles, butted leaf, tangled leaf, green prize and strip form to customer requirements.

In 1990 Hail & Cotton consolidated its operations by relocating its threshing facility and corporate headquarters to Springfield. Since then, the company has continuously upgraded its processing facilities and built or acquired industrial properties in Tennessee and Kentucky to accommodate customer requirements for leaf receiving, purchasing, processing and packed storage of USA Dark Fire Cured, Dark Air Cured, Burley, and Flue Cured tobaccos.

In 2011, Hail & Cotton merged with CdF International Group to create Hail & Cotton International Group, a multinational organization with the ability to grow, purchase, process and store leaf tobaccos from around the world.

CdF International Group History

CdF International Group has a history that reaches back into the 1800’s and to practically every corner of the world.

The company was founded in 2007 when the businesses of Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas S.A. of Spain and Lippoel Leaf B.V. of the Netherlands were combined to form an independent, multinational leaf dealer.

Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas, from which CdF took its name, was established in 1881 to assume operations of the tobacco factories owned by the Spanish government in the Philippines, where an abolition of the tobacco monopoly had been decreed. The company also had a more ambitious goal of developing the riches of the Islands to foster agriculture, industry and trade. In 1884, CdF earned the title of tobacco provider to the Royal Houses of Spain, Italy and Portugal.

After the Spanish-American War of 1898, CdF expanded into the large-scale cultivation of sugar cane, helping to develop the sugar industry in the Philippines. It also began exporting sugar and other commodities such as copra and hemp, using its own private fleet. However, during WWII, almost all the company’s offices and factories in the Philippines were destroyed and most of its business was brought to a standstill.

Beginning in the 1950’s CdF withdrew from or sold off many of its businesses and refocused on tobacco, expanding its tobacco operations beyond the Philippines into Latin America and Indonesia.

Founded in the Netherlands in 1981, Lippoel Leaf developed into a recognized supplier of Flue Cured, Burley, Dark Fire Cured and Oriental leaf tobacco from all major origins, serving the international cigarette and RYO industries.

In 1995, Lippoel Leaf acquired Carl Leoni N.V., which had its own distinguished history dating back to 1848 when it began trading tobaccos in Mannheim and later in Amsterdam. It owned cigar tobacco plantations in Mexico and established leaf processing and packing operations in Brazil and Cuba. In 2007, Lippoel Leaf became a part of CdF International Group.

In 2011, CdF merged with Hail & Cotton to create Hail & Cotton International Group, a multinational organization with the ability to grow, purchase, process and store leaf tobaccos from around the world.