In 1864,an entrepreneur A.G. Rutenberg acquired the Koffsky & Kunchczynski tobacco manufactory in Riga, the Russian Empire, which had existed since 1839. Under his management, the manufactory quickly became a large industrial enterprise, one of the leading in the tobacco industry of the country, which is confirmed by the “Gold Medal” of the industrial exhibition in Riga in 1901.
After the death of A. G. Rutenberg in 1905 the factory was run by his sons – Tobias, Max and Gustav and in 1914 it was headed by Tobias Rutenberg. At that time, the factory had 700 workers and produced 20 million cigars, 3.5 million cigarettes, 114 million papirosas, as well as several tons of pipe tobacco of the highest quality.
Due to the beginning of the First World War, Tobias Rutenberg decided to move part of the production away from the front line. Part of the staff, cigar molds, drying roller, tobacco cutters, a press for holding pipe tobacco, cigarette rolling machines – everything that was necessary for production was sent to the city of Pogar Starodubsky district of Chernihiv province – one of the largest centers of tobacco cultivation since 1718. According to official data, in those years about 30 million kilograms of tobacco were grown in the Chernihiv province of the Russian Empire, as well as for the Riga factory, that partially processed it and partially sent it to Europe for the traditional tobacco fair in Bremen. So, since 1915, the history of the Pogar Tobacco Factory started. It became a part of the trading “Empire” of A.G. Rutenberg, which produced tobacco products for Russia and exported them to European countries.
In 1919, the company was nationalized. In the early years of Soviet regime it worked unstable due to the breakdown of regional tobacco production and a shortage of raw materials. However, during the years of collectivization, the situation leveled out, the production rates of cigars and cigarettes began to grow.
The factory also worked during the Great Patriotic War (in particular, there is a legend about the supply of cigars for Churchill during the Yalta Conference, for which, allegedly, a cigar roller was even specially recalled from the front).
In the 1990s, the factory was privatized and miraculously avoided bankruptcy, but was able to recover and even expand the assortiment (in particular, it began to produce tobacco for hookah).
Since 2004, the production of all manufactured products of Smoltabak LLC (Smolensk), Alvis OJSC (Yekaterinburg), Astra OJSC (formerly Perm tobacco factory, Perm), Kansk tobacco factory OJSC (Kansk, Krasnoyarsk Krai), JSC Chelyabinsk tobacco factory (Chelyabinsk), LLC Biysk tobacco factory (Biysk, Altai Krai) was transferred to the factory capacity.