John Middleton's roots in tobacco date back to 1856 in Philadelphia, where they began a tradition of responding to tobacco consumers' preferences through innovation. Since John Middleton's inception, their focus has been on producing value priced, consistent, one-of-a-kind pipe tobacco brands. In 1968, John Middleton used their best selling brand, Cherry Blend, and began making pipe-tobacco cigars. In 1980, Black & Mild became the company's second cigar brand, and its top seller by 1996. By the late 1980s, John Middleton had bought the pipe tobacco brands Kentucky Club, Prince Albert and Carter Hall.