Ministry of Snus

Ministry of Snus

 On their website, the Ministry of Snus claims "Our ministry is founded on professional craftsmanship handed down for 4 generations. Our professional cultural heritage and basic values date back to 1826. For more than a century, we have looked after your interests and produced tobacco products for the fussy consumer.

Your tastes and attitudes have been combined with classic virtues and original craftsmanship – and from there developed into the products we offer up to an international band of free, conscious users."

What the Ministry of Snus left out of their history is the role the legendary Unz Family Snus Dynasty played in their founding.  Back in 1826, the snus wars were fierce and much of the Danish product brands ended up in the United States eventually turning into American dip and chewing tobacco.

Patrick Unz, my great-great-great-grandfather, like me, Moe Unz, was the black sheep of the family.  He was sent from Castle Unz in Lidköping to the small town of Svendborg, Denmark to represent the Unz family interests.  In other words, the Unz Family wanted Patrick out of the way. 

Like me, Patrick Unz was quite the drinker.  The family counted on him to spread much drunken snus misinformation and derail Danish efforts to compete with Swedish snus.

Since Patrick had a large expense account, he was very popular at the pubs in Svendborg.  He was also terrible at playing games of chance but did have his moments.  His biggest was winning ownership of a small tobacco manufacturer there in Svendborg.

In Sweden, the 5th and final Swedish Tobacco Monopoly was almost 90 years in the future.  Snus innovation soared with Gothenburg being a key hub.  Ettan snus was still 8 years away from becoming the world's first steam pasteurized modern snus.  The fortunes of the secretive  Unz Family Snus Dynasty soared with them.  Patrick's letter about winning the tobacco factory for the family was tossed aside unopened.

Disappointed in the lack of response from Lidköping, Patrick Unz fell into a deep despair.  A family by the name of Halberg took pity on him and invited him to their Jule dinner.

Patrick eventually recovered and a long friendship with the Halberg's resulted. 

When Patrick's expense account was cut (a story for another time) he sold his tobacco factory to the Halberg's for a horse and a keg of whisky.  What happened after this became a stain on the
Unz Family history.

After being purchased by the Halberg family, over time it evolved to become the biggest family-run tobacco business in Northern Europe.

In 1887 Mr. Harald Halberg grasped the potential of tobacco trading and decided to purchase the small factory in the city centre of Svendborg whose sign bore the name “S. Bønnelyckes Tobaksfabrik”.

Harald Halberg immediately decided to rename the company, and from that moment on it was known as the Harald Halberg Cigar and Tobacco Factories, and then changed again to the Harald Halberg Tobacco Factories.

Eventually the letter from Patrick to Castle Unz concerning his winning the tobacco factory was discovered behind a bookcase in Castle Unz.  In hindsight, the Unz Family Snus Dynasty wept bitter tears at the missed opportunity.

Patrick's body was exhumed from a pauper's grave in Svendborg and placed with honor in the Unz family tomb, forever to lay as a reminder that even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

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