Our History - Altria

The Altria Group of companies has a strong American heritage stretching back more than 180 years.

1822

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George Weyman, inventor of Copenhagen snuff, opens his tobacco shop in Pittsburgh. This is the foundation of the future United States Tobacco Company.

1847

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Philip Morris, Esq., a tobacconist and importer of fine cigars, opens a shop in London.

1854

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Philip Morris makes his first cigarette.

1856

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John Middleton founds a tobacco shop in downtown Philadelphia.

 

1902

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Philip Morris & Co., Ltd. is incorporated in New York.

1929

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Philip Morris & Co., Ltd. begins manufacturing its own cigarettes by purchasing a factory in Richmond, Va.

1931

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United States Tobacco Company’s net income reaches $3 million. Despite the Great Depression, it becomes one of just a handful of companies to retain all its employees and never miss a dividend payment.

1933

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Philip Morris & Co., Ltd. integrates the labor force of its manufacturing center in Richmond, Va., three decades before civil rights becomes law.

1934-
1935

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NAWICO (National Wine Company) is founded in Seattle and Grandview, Wash., and Pommerelle fruit wines is founded in Seattle. These companies later merge to become American Wine Growers, the antecedent of the current Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

1938

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Philip Morris & Co., Ltd. preferred stock is offered to the public.

 
 
 

1954

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Philip Morris & Co., Ltd. repositions Marlboro cigarettes as a cigarette brand for men. The cigarettes included new cork-tip filters housed in a flip-top box with a red roof design.

1958

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John Middleton ends its retail business to focus on manufacturing and selling its own tobacco products.

1967

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American Wine Growers launches "Ste. Michelle" wines made from vinifera grapes grown in eastern Washington. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Semillon and Grenache Rosé‚ are the first varieties produced.

1968

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John Middleton launches its first cigar made of pipe tobacco.

1970

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Philip Morris Inc. acquires Miller Brewing Company.

1974

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United States Tobacco Company enters the wine business by acquiring Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington’s largest winery.

1985

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Philip Morris Cos. is incorporated, becomes the publicly-held holding company and parent of Philip Morris Inc., and acquires General Foods Corp.

1988

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Philip Morris Cos. acquires Kraft.

1989

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Kraft and General Foods combine to form Kraft General Foods.

 

2002

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Miller Brewing Company merges into South African Breweries to form SABMiller, the world’s second-largest beer company, with Philip Morris Cos. retaining a continuing interest in the enlarged group.

2003

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Philip Morris Cos. changes its name to Altria Group, Inc.

2007

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Altria completes the spin-off of all shares of Kraft Foods owned by Altria to Altria’s shareholders.
Altria acquires John Middleton, a leading manufacturer of large machine-made cigars, from privately held Bradford Holdings, Inc.

2008

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Altria completes the spin-off of 100 percent of the shares of Philip Morris International to Altria's shareholders.
Altria relocates its headquarters to Richmond, Va.

2009

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Altria acquires UST Inc., a holding company whose primary businesses manufacture and market moist smokeless tobacco products through U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company and premium wines through Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.