Craven A(stylized asCraven “A”) is a British brand of cigarette. Currently manufactured by British American Tobacco under some of its subsidiaries. It was originally created by the Carreras Tobacco Company in 1921 and made by them until its merger into Rothmans International in 1972, who then produced the brand until Rothmans was acquired by British American Tobacco in 1999.
The cigarette brand is named after the third Earl of Craven, after the “Craven Mixture”, a tobacco blend formulated for the 3rd Earl in the 1860s by tobacconist Don José Joaquin Carreras.
As a supplier of tobacco to high society. Don José had many fashionable and distinguished customers. Including George Grimston Craven, the 3rd Earl. George would frequent the Carreras store in Regent Street along with the rest of the rich and the fashionable. In 1860 Don José created the cigarette Mixture, especially for him. The blend spread in popularity throughout the world. It is no surprise that the Victorian wing additions to Ashdown House included a smoking room. This fits perfectly with the image of the 3rd Earl and his friends retiring after dinner to smoke their favorite Mixture!
After the end of World War I, the cigarette market resumed its normal competitive spirit with the Carreras Tobacco Company once better to the fore. Bernhard Baron, a director of Carreras. Knew that to compete successfully his product had to be better than his competitors. In 1921 Carreras launched the brand, using the name of the 3rd Earl of Craven; presumably. Its name did not refer to the normal meaning of the word ‘craven’ (cowardly). Beyond the historic connection to the “Craven Mixture” tobacco blend. The year of release of the cigarette brand coincided with the well-publicized death of the 4th Earl of Craven in a yachting accident on 10 July 1921. It was the first machine-made cork-tipped cigarette. And it became a household name in over 120 countries with the slogan “Will Not Affect Your Throat”.
Following the success of the brand, several other companies launched cork-tipped cigarettes which enjoyed varying degrees of success. Few (if any) of these remain available as of 2019. When the renovations to the house took place in 2012 quite a few packets of Craven A were discovered, left by builders who had worked on the house in the past century.