dipping tobacco production

How are Dip and Chewing Tobacco Made?


In the U.S., you can find a whole range of different smokeless tobacco products - from dip to chewing tobacco and even snus. But how are smokeless tobacco products made and what is tobacco made of? We investigate how different popular smokeless tobacco products are made, looking at the tobacco production process, and the ins and outs of tobacco plants.


What is Tobacco Made Of? The Basics of Tobacco Production

Before we dive into the details, let’s get to the basics: what is tobacco made of? Tobacco is primarily made from the dried leaves of the Nicotiana tabacum plant. These leaves undergo various processes, including curing, fermenting, and aging, to develop their distinct flavors and characteristics that you get in the final tobacco product. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the plant. Other ingredients, such as flavorings and preservatives, may be added depending on the specific type and brand of tobacco product.


How Tobacco is Made: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you have ever wondered how to make tobacco or wanted to learn more about how to grow your own tobacco - here is an overview of the general steps that are taken in the tobacco production process.


1. Growing the Tobacco. Tobacco plants are grown in designated fields under controlled conditions, to keep proper soil quality, climate, and sunlight.


2. Harvesting the Tobacco. Mature tobacco leaves are carefully harvested by hand or machine, typically during the peak growing season. The leaves are then sorted based on their quality and size.


3. Curing the Tobacco. The harvested tobacco leaves undergo a curing process to remove excess moisture and develop desired flavors and aromas. Curing methods may include air curing, flue curing, or fire curing, depending on the tobacco type.


4. Fermentation of the Tobacco. After curing, the tobacco leaves are fermented to further develop their flavors and reduce bitterness. This process involves stacking the leaves in fermentation piles and allowing them to undergo controlled microbial fermentation. Controlled microbial fermentation is a process used in tobacco production where the tobacco leaves undergo a carefully controlled and monitored fermentation process. During fermentation, microorganisms naturally present on the tobacco leaves break down and change organic compounds, resulting in changes in flavor, aroma, and overall tobacco quality.


5. Aging and Blending the Tobacco. Fermented tobacco is aged for a period of time to allow flavors to mellow and develop complexity. Different tobacco varieties and ages may be blended to achieve desired flavor profiles and consistency. This is part of the reason why different tobacco brands have different flavors, even in their unflavored products.


6. Grinding and Processing the Tobacco. The aged tobacco leaves are finely ground or processed into the desired texture for smokeless oral tobacco products, such as snuff, snus, or chewing tobacco. Additional ingredients like flavorings and moisture retainers may be added during this stage.


7. Packaging the Final Tobacco Product. The processed tobacco is packaged into appropriate containers, such as tins, pouches, or cans, ensuring proper sealing to maintain freshness.

It's important to note that specific techniques and processes may vary between the different tobacco manufacturers, and additional steps may be involved depending on the type of smokeless oral tobacco product being produced. 


So while this is a general overview of how smokeless tobacco is made, how are specific products made? Like how is chewing tobacco made and how is dip made? We look at the top three categories of tobacco product on Northerner and investigate their tobacco production process.


How is Chewing Tobacco Made?

The chewing tobacco production process has similarities with the general step by step, there are a few key differences to how chewing tobacco is made vs other smokeless tobacco products. 


  • Leaf Preparation. Chewing tobacco often uses whole tobacco leaves or larger leaf pieces, whereas other smokeless oral tobacco products may involve finely ground or shredded tobacco.
  • Fermentation. Chewing tobacco typically undergoes a controlled fermentation process, which is crucial for developing desired flavors and reducing harshness. This step may not be as necessary or important in other smokeless oral tobacco products.
  • Cutting and Texture. Chewing tobacco is typically cut into larger pieces or strands to facilitate the chewing experience. This differs from other smokeless oral tobacco products that may have a finer texture, such as snuff or snus.
  • Flavoring. Chewing tobacco products may undergo additional flavoring processes to enhance the taste of the product. The flavorings used can vary, ranging from traditional tobacco flavors to menthol, mint, or fruit essences.
  • Packaging and Presentation. Chewing tobacco is commonly packaged in larger containers or pouches suitable for taking portions to chew. Other smokeless oral tobacco products, like snuff or snus, often come in smaller, portioned packages.

How is Dip Made?

Just like the differences between the general production process and how chewing tobacco is made, there are a few key differences in how dip is made vs other smokeless tobacco products.


  • Leaf Selection. Dip tobacco typically uses whole tobacco leaves or larger leaf pieces, while other smokeless oral tobacco products may involve finely ground or shredded tobacco.
  • Moisture Level. Dip tobacco is moistened during the production process to achieve the desired texture and moisture content. This moisture level distinguishes dip tobacco from drier smokeless oral tobacco products like snuff.
  • Flavoring and Ingredients. Dip tobacco may undergo additional flavoring processes to enhance the taste, which can include natural or artificial flavorings. Some dip tobacco products also contain additional ingredients such as sweeteners or binders.
  • Cut and Texture. Dip tobacco is generally coarsely cut, providing a unique texture for the chewing experience. This differs from other smokeless oral tobacco products that may have finer cuts or different textures.
  • Packaging and Presentation. Dip tobacco is commonly packaged in round or rectangular cans or tubs, designed for easy access and storage. Other smokeless oral tobacco products, like snuff or snus, may have different packaging formats.


These variations in leaf selection, moisture level, flavoring, cut, and packaging contribute to the specific characteristics and experiences of dip tobacco and its differences to other smokeless oral tobacco products.


How is Snus Made?

Snus, another popular oral tobacco product, has a slightly different tobacco production method vs other oral tobacco products.


  • Grinding. Snus tobacco undergoes a grinding process to create a finer texture compared to other smokeless oral tobacco products like chewing tobacco.
  • Pasteurization. Snus tobacco is pasteurized, meaning it goes through a heat treatment process that eliminates potentially harmful bacteria while preserving the tobacco's flavor and quality. Pasteurization is a unique step in snus production that you don’t really find with other smokeless tobacco products.
  • Flavoring and Moisture Level. Snus tobacco is typically flavored with various ingredients such as bergamot, mint, or fruit flavors to create different taste profiles. The moisture level of snus is carefully controlled to provide optimal moisture content for a comfortable and long-lasting release of flavors and nicotine.
  • Portioning. Snus tobacco is portioned into small, pre-packed pouches made of plant-based materials. These pouches ensure convenience for users and removes the need for users to shape or form the tobacco by hand.
  • Packaging. Snus pouches are packaged in airtight cans or containers to maintain freshness and prevent the snus from drying out. The packaging is designed to be convenient for storage and transportation, as well as properly preserve the product. Read our snus vs dip guide where we compare these tobacco products in depth. 

Tobacco Production By Country

Global tobacco production is a significant industry with several countries being the primary tobacco producers. China is the largest producer of tobacco, accounting for a large portion of the world's total tobacco production. Other major tobacco-producing countries include Brazil, India, the United States, and Zimbabwe. Each country has its unique tobacco varieties and cultivation methods, resulting in diverse flavors and characteristics that can be brought to tobacco products. While China holds the top position in tobacco production, other nations play a crucial role in meeting global demand for tobacco products - including the U.S.


Leading State for Tobacco Production

Kentucky is the leading state in the United States for tobacco production. It has a long-standing history and tradition of tobacco farming, with prime soil and climate conditions for growing high-quality tobacco. Kentucky's tobacco industry is important for the state's economy, contributing to both farming and production sectors. The state's rich tobacco heritage has led to the production of various tobacco types, including Burley tobacco. 


Choosing a Smokeless Tobacco Product

With a range of smokeless tobacco products all made in different ways to give different experiences and flavors, there are plenty of options for smokeless tobacco users.
You can find a range of smokeless tobacco products like chewing tobacco and dip tobacco online on Northerner. Order on Northerner and get your order dispatched from one of our U.S. warehouses straight to your home with fast shipping options.

NOTE: You can only buy tobacco products online in the U.S. if you are 21 years of age or older. However, there are some local and state restrictions on the sale of smokeless tobacco. It is important to note that all Smokeless Tobacco products are shipped requiring an adult signature upon delivery, no matter which state you are ordering to.
Want to see if Northerner ships to your state? Check out our dedicated shipping info page.