J.C. Newman’s New Cigars: The Yagua and The American

J.C. Newman’s New Cigars: The Yagua and The American

J.C. Newman New Releases and the Company Legacy

Cigars produced by J.C. Newman, carry a legacy of dedication to quality, and history. Through two world wars, a great depression, and the cigar boom, many of our cigars have stood the test of time. As we approach our 125th company anniversary, we reflect on the cigars we’ve produced that have made an impact on the industry, all while looking ahead to what we can contribute to the future.

Innovation is key to growth but taking a moment to look into the past has allowed us to make decisions about the future. Two of the newest cigar additions to our catalog, the Yagua and The American, are taking us back to the roots of cigar making, while forging forward into the ever-changing palates of the cigar smoker.

Yagua from PENSA: The Imperfect Nicaraguan Cigar

This cigar will be far from the blemish free cigars that the industry has come to know and love. This cigar is birthed from a romantic story, told to Drew Newman by the J.C. Newman PENSA factory manager, Lazaro Lopez.

Lazaro recounted tales of his grandfather, working out in the remote tobacco fields of Cuba, far from the cigar factories in the cities. After harvesting the tobacco and allowing it to ferment, Lazaro’s grandfather would roll up a few cigars by hand to smoke for himself. Without any of the modern factory tools, Lazaro’s grandfather had to be resourceful. He took a few fronds from the Yagua tree – a royal palm that is native to Cuba – and tied them around a bundle of his hand rolled cigars to help give them a firm shape. While the unique binding technique worked, because the cigars were pressed together while still wet, they took the form of the other cigars they were tied to, resulting in cigars that were anything but round. Some cigars had five sides, others were more triangular, but none were the same.

Inspired by Lazaro’s childhood memory, we challenged our factory to make a cigar using the same process. The tobaccos were hand selected and fermented to mimic the boldness of his Grandfather’s freshly picked tobacco and the cigars are rolled wet, ensuring each cigar is uniquely shaped.  Named Yagua, after the palm leaves which bound the cigars, this new concept is sure to appeal to the seasoned cigar lover looking for something unconventional in the modern humidor.

The American: Back to Tampa Cigar Factory Roots

By now you’ve probably heard of our project, The American. After much anticipation, this cigar has recently shipped to select retailers nation-wide.

The brand was initially created by E. Regensburg and Sons – which originally owned the El Reloj factory J.C. Newman currently operates in Tampa, Florida. Though, at that time, the cigar was not 100% American made like today’s version, the original label has been enhanced, and elevated, while keeping the original symbolism in a nod to the history of the cigar.

The entire American production is only rolled by two hand-rollers here in Tampa, making the cigar very limited. When the factory re-opens in 2020 for our 125th company anniversary, we will have a significant portion of the 3rd floor dedicated to the tradition of hand-rolling cigars. With room for 14 rollers, and even a lector, El Reloj will look and feel like taking a step back in time; back to the early 1900’s of cigar making in Tampa. At that time more cigars will be rolled, and you will even be able to purchase limited edition cigars right here at the factory.

The Future of Cigars is Now

We’re so looking forward to sharing these cigars, and our factory with you next year, and for many years to come. Mark your calendars for the factory opening in Spring of 2020, and don’t forget to look at your local retailer for the Yagua, and The American, available soon!

The American Cigar

The American Cigar

Not only is The American hand rolled in the United States with American heirloom tobaccos, but all of the materials used to make and package The American come from the United States as well.

Tinder Box Rapid City Diamond Crown Lounge

Tinder Box Rapid City Diamond Crown Lounge

On September 6 of 2019, Tinder Box Rapid City opens their Havana Room as a designated Diamond Crown Lounge! There’s so much you won’t want to miss!

Cigar Deals and Special Appearances

From 6 pm – 9 pm on September 6, the Tinder Box Rapid City Diamond Crown Lounge will host their grand opening party featuring a ton of great deals. Those who purchase any single cigar in the Diamond Crown Royal Family (Diamond Crown, MAXIMUS, Julius Caeser or Black Diamond) received a free Diamond Crown Julius Caeser 1895 perfecto cigar. This 1895 perfecto vitola is only available to distinguished Diamond Crown lounges.

Those who purchase any box in the Royal Family will receive a free, limited edition, Diamond Crown Royal sampler and will be entered for a chance to win a Diamond Crown Alexander 160 Count Humidor.

And if the cigars weren’t enough, 3rd Generation Owner and President Eric Newman will be on premises, to meet, greet, answer questions and tell some stories about the J.C. Newman family legacy and the story of the Diamond Crown cigar.

Tinder Box Rapid City will have this event catered, and at 9 pm, the weekly live music will commence to roll patrons into the rest of the evening. No tickets are required for this event.

 

 

Tinder Box Rapid City: More than Just a Cigar Shop

Tinder Box has been a staple in the cigar smoking community of Rapid City for quite some time, but a few brand new additions will delight cigar smokers, old and new. Their new, expanded humidor is large enough to carry the most prestigious brands. Their private meeting space is perfect for small gatherings, parties, or meetings.

Tinder Box Rapid City Diamond Crown Lounge offers a wide bar selection to pair with your favorite smoke, as well as light fare, and cigar lockers. The live music from 9 pm – 11 pm every Friday and Saturday brings people in, while in-season, the outdoor patio allows patrons to enjoy the summer weather. The newly appointed decor sets the perfect mood for sharing a cigar with friends, or unwinding after a long day. 

The Diamond Crown Lounge Designation

 

Tinder Box Rapid City has a reputation that proceeds itself. As a staple of the cigar industry, we are honored to partner with them as they open their Havana Room as a Diamond Crown Lounge,

Diamond Crown lounges are places where cigar aficionados can meet up and enjoy an unparalleled selection of fine and exclusive premium cigars. This is a lounge you’ll want to visit time and time again for Diamond Crown events or to relax with other cigar lovers.

 

Frisker the Bar Dog

 

 

Tinder Box Rapid City
Address: 518 7th St. Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: (605) 341-8466

Website: http://rapidcitytinderbox.com/

Hours:
M – T: 12 pm – 10 pm
F – S: 12 pm – 11pm
SUN: 12 pm – 6pm

Tinder Box Rapid City Entrance

Underground 420 Private Event Space

Havana Room Private Event Space

An Interview with The Cigar Club

An Interview with The Cigar Club

The Cigar Club, a store just outside of Nashville, is a place where everyone feels like family – that’s what Patricia Williams, Co-Owner and General Manager of the store told us during an interview last week. At the annual IPCPR Trade Show this past July, J.C. Newman ran a contest for retailers: anyone who posted a photo of themselves with their Regional Sales Manager would be entered for a chance to have their store featured on our blog, social media, and newsletter. Patricia’s photo with her RSM Louis Marshall landed her the 1st place prize, and so we (JCN) called her up to find out exactly what The Cigar Club (CC) is all about.

JCN: So – how long has Cigar Club of Nashville been open?

CC: 22 years.

JCN: Wow. That’s a long time!

CC: I know. The store opened 22 years ago. Hard to believe. It’s been a great journey.

JCN: And have you always had a passion for cigars?

CC: Well 22 years ago, I signed up to be the office manager. For four to five weeks after taking the job, I just watched these guys sit around the table smoking cigars and enjoying them so much and so I decided to try one, and I’ve been smoking ever since.

13 years ago, when the previous owner decided to sell [Cigar Club], I was trying to figure out what I was going to do. By that time, I had become the manager of the store. I had made so many friends; I enjoyed the business, the community, the friendships I made, the customers I met – we’re like a family. By that point I decided there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. That’s when I and another customer bought the previous owner out and we’ve been the operators for 13 years. And I still love the cigars.

JCN: So now that you’re in it, what’s your favorite part of the cigar industry?

CC: The people absolutely. The fact that when you are smoking a cigar, you are instantly bonded with the person sitting across from you, even if you have nothing else in common. It’s a bond that transcends age groups, race, and social status. 

  

Patricia Williams, her husband Todd Williams, and some Cigar Club regulars

At any given time, we can have six guys around the table; you’ll have doctors and construction workers, and these are people that wouldn’t come into contact any other way but that cigar. So many friendships are formed, so much business has taken place. It’s a spirit that…it makes us all brothers of the leaf. It really is that way. I have seen it for 22 years. 

 Now, new people come in and the best compliment I get, after the second or third time they’ve come in, they’ll say, “since the first time I came in here, I felt like I was home.” Everyone accepts you. It’s a ‘pull up a chair’ mentality. It doesn’t matter if you’re smoking a three-dollar cigar or a ten-dollar cigar or even a pipe – we love our pipe guys too! [a chuckle]

It’s a family. I love the cigars. I would smoke even if I didn’t have the store because I love the family part.

JCN: That’s an amazing atmosphere to have! Sounds like your regulars are a huge part of creating that. Do you want to talk about some of your regular customers and how they contribute to the store?

CC: I have customers that have been coming in 22 years and also new people all the time. It’s a nice mix of new people and people who have been here forever. Actually, it’s funny – it’s hard to know who’s working. I mean we have tee shirts for our employees of course, but I say that because the regulars are so helpful. They get up and go help people that come in if I’m busy. They’ll show them around the humidor and help them pick out cigars. They’ll say, “I can’t ring you up because I don’t work here but this is a good one.” Its comical, but it’s a testament to the atmosphere we have at the store.

[The regulars] wives will call, and they’ll say, “Yeah I’m down at the club,” meaning the Cigar Club. Their wives will send them here when they are under their feet too much too.

 

It’s my regulars that have carried us along; I can always depend on them. They’re always so friendly that when new people come in, they feel welcome. They’re constantly telling each other about new products that come in and they build the excitement. They’ll say, “she just got ‘this or that’ in!” They are unofficial salespeople for me. They love it. They want it to be successful and they’re always saying nice things about us. It is unusual for someone to come in the store and not be greeted, if not by my staff, but sometimes before we get a chance to say hello, our customers are greeting them. They are a huge part of keeping us going.

Any job is a job, and has its good days and bad, but they make it amazing. They make it worth it. Young guys hang right in there with the older guys and swap stories. These guys are solving the problems of the world I swear! [laughing]

JCN: Do you have any specials for these regulars? Or any annual traditions or celebrations?

CC: We do a customer appreciation day two times per year in May and October. It is two days out of the year that we run a discount on everything in the store and that’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our customers. It varies but it’s always on a Saturday and it’s a nice discount on anything in the store for them.

Patricia Williams and her daughter Elizabeth Boyd

JCN: Ok, shameless plug: what is your favorite J.C. Newman cigar?

CC: The original Diamond Crown is probably my favorite. On a more regular pace: The Brick House. I could smoke that every day. But I would absolutely take a Diamond Crown to celebrate, and I like the original the best.

JCN: Second shameless plug: which J.C. Newman product is a best seller at The Cigar Club?

CC: I would say the Brick House. The Mighty-Mighty size does well in all three wrappers but the original Mighty Mighty is the best seller. My guys are smoking [the Brick House] all the time and it’s a great priced cigar.

JCN: What are you most looking forward to for the future of cigars?

CC: I am extremely encouraged by the number of new smokers and that people are constantly branching out and trying new things. Being in the business for 22 years, I’ve seen that people were very stuck with one brand. Maybe they were Fuente guys or Padron guys and they might buy something else, but they didn’t stray too far.

Now, people are looking for and trying new cigars. Even with FDA regulations, and the price increases, I am encouraged by the fact that people, and even new smokers, are enjoying the variety. They don’t seem to be put off by the fact that the prices have to go up. We have lots of new cigars coming out and new blends – lots of different twists. When you’re doing this for this long, you would think we would run out of combinations to come up with [a laugh] but with new blends and different rolling styles… the customers are enjoying that.

JCN: Alright, here’s your chance to tell everything about your RSM Louis Marshall. How does he take care of you? Any dirt?

CC: [A laugh] No! No dirt! He is very efficient. He is quick to respond if I have a question or place an order – I always hear back, right away. Really that’s all I ask from a rep – let me know if anything new is going and that if I have a problem or a question that they get back to me promptly and that’s what he does. He’s great.

JCN: Is there anything else you want J.C. Newman blog readers to know about The Cigar Club?

CC: We always call ourselves ‘your local tobacconist’ because we try to be very informed on the products. Two of my employees, Lauren and Evan, have already passed their Tobacco University tests and are now tobacco verified retail specialist and our other employees Dave and Todd are working on it. We try to be very well informed.

We have a knowledgeable, friendly staff to help you make your decision. We look at it as an educational thing to explain and help [customers] find what they want. We try to stay informed and educate customers. We sell cigars, pipes, pipe tobacco and accessories for those. We don’t do cigarettes, chew, or vapes or any of that. We are on the traditional end – we sell tried and trusted brands. We have a few boutique companies, but we are not a boutique store. We have a family atmosphere. That’s the big thing.

 

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Patricia Williams and her silent partner Steve Bridges operate Cigar Club of Nashville seven days a week. Their hours are Monday – Saturday 10 am – 7 pm and Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm. You can learn more about them on their website: http://cigarsnashville.com/

Address: 2148 N Gallatin Road
Madison, TN 37115

Phone: 615-859-2425

IPCPR 2019 Recap

IPCPR 2019 Recap

J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente had an incredible time IPCPR 2019. This blog recaps some show highlights, as well as the retail prize winners!

J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente – The Beginning

J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente – The Beginning

The Fuente cigar factory in the Dominican Republic is usually the first thing that comes to mind when people discuss the J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente partnership, but fate brought these two companies together in 1986 in the Cigar City, Tampa, Florida.

 

An Opportunity

Mere weeks after Stanford, Eric and Bobby Newman completed the leveraged buy-out of 13 other family members in order to consolidate leadership, Stanford received a call from fellow Tampa cigarmaker, Carlos Fuente, Sr. Fuente wanting to focus all of his efforts on his growing Dominican Republic operations but didn’t want to abandon his Tampa-made brand, Moya. Associates through Tampa’s local cigar association, Carlos asked Stanford if he would be willing to make Moya in his historic El Reloj factory.

Stanford, aware of the booming imported handmade market, agreed to make Fuente’s Tampa cigar if Carlos would create a hand rolled Dominican cigar for J.C. Newman.

 

J.C. Newman’s Dominican Cigar Brands

 

 

In 1986, Tabacalera A. Fuente rolled its first brand for J.C. Newman, La Unica. Within six months, La Unica became the #1 selling premium bundle cigar in America. Since then, the Newman and Fuente families have collaborated on some of the top Dominican cigars including, Cuesta-Rey, Diamond Crown, MAXIMUS, Julius Caeser and Black Diamond.

Committed to Success

The J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente Cigar Company partnership is the most successful premium cigar manufacturing and distribution combination in the world. The partnership has stood the test of time because the families share values of quality, integrity, loyalty and philanthropy.

It has been more than 30 years since Carlos Fuente, Sr. called Stanford Newman with a simple request and has since blossomed into an unrivaled alliance.

IPCPR 2019 Recap

IPCPR 2019 Recap

The annual International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Trade show took place June 28 – July 1 at the Sands Expo Center in the Venetian Resort, Las Vegas, NV.

The Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman booth, holding strong at 18 years old, offered our retail partners a chance to meet with their Regional Sales Managers, and their favorite Fuente/Newman family members.  

This trade show also gave us the opportunity to showcase our new products, and discuss our plans for our 125th company anniversary, coming up in 2020. 

 

Day 1: J.C. Newman’s newest cigar; The Yagua

The Yagua was on display in the J.C. Newman booth, to drum up interest. Though this cigar is not for sale just yet, the project is merely months away from shipping.

The Yagua is a cigar from yesteryear. The idea was taken from a story, told to Drew Newman by the J.C. Newman PENSA Factory Manager, Lazaro Lopez. In Cuba, Lazaro’s grandfather would grow, harvest, and cure tobacco. When he wanted to smoke a cigar, he would roll the tobacco into a cigar shape, but without the use of molds, he had no other choice but to use what was at his fingertips. In this case, it was the frond from a Yagua tree (a type of royal palm native to Cuba). The result was a bundle of beautiful, albeit misshapen cigars.

The new Yagua is rolled with this same methodology, but with some updated technology. Though these cigars will all be the same length, the exact size won’t be able to be determined, as each will skew slightly.

On Day 1, our retail partners had an opportunity to hear about this story, then be entered for a chance to win dinner and gambling on us! The winner was Executive Cigar Lounge in Melbourne, FL.

 

Day 2: New Diamond Crown and Craftsman’s Bench Accessories 

 

Day 2 (Sunday) of IPCPR gave our retailers the chance to ask us about our new line of Diamond Crown accessories, namely, the Havana Series of humidors.

The Havana Series is inspired by the vivid colors of Havana. These limited-edition humidors are perfect for those who enjoy a little Cuban flair. They are built with the same unmatched craftsmanship as our Diamond Crown Humidor Series Line and are only available in a 75-count size.

Only 150 humidors were available in each color, and by the end of the trade show, we had completely sold out! Consumers; contact your local diamond crown lounges and Brick and Mortar stores to get your hands on one of these!

When retailers asked about The Havana Series of Humidors on day 2, they were entered to win one of each color of these humidors, as well as each of the new ashtrays from Craftsman’s Bench and each of the two new Diamond Crown Ashtrays (pictured below). The Sunday winner was none other than Tinder Box Rapid City!

Day 3: The American and 125th Company Anniversary

 

The American has been a cigar that’s caught a lot of attention the last few weeks, but at the Trade Show, we were finally able to show it off!

The American times out perfectly with our 125th company anniversary next year. The American is the namesake of the very first cigar ever rolled at El Reloj, the name of our Tampa Factory. Originally rolled by the Regensburg family, The American has changed in it’s construction. Though the name is the same, the new version of our cigar is rolled with 100% American tobacco, placed in American cellophane, and placed into an American-made box, fastened with American forged hinges. Absolutely everything about this cigar is American and boxes will finally be allocated at the end of July 2019, so be sure to look out for it at your local retailer.

The prize for our retailer on Day 3 (Monday) was sensational! The winner, Nice Ash Cigars, has secured a two-person invitation to visit our factory in 2020 when renovations are complete!

CRA Freedom Sampler

All three days, our amazing sales team, along with the sales team from many other manufacturers, were selling CRA Freedom Packs. The CRA has created Freedom Sampler featuring 10 super premium cigars from 10 amazing cigar companies. These packs are raising money to fund legislation and regulatory efforts to fight for your right to enjoy premium cigars. Each pack purchased goes directly to CRA litigators. These freedom packs are shipping in November! The 10 cigars included are:

J.C. Newman, Diamond Crown Black Diamond Emerald
Alec Bradley, Ltd. Mundial PL #56
Arturo Fuente, Fuente Fuente OpusX Limited Edition
Ashton, La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse Viceroy
La Flor, Dominicana TBD
My Father, Don Pepin Original Connecticut
Oliva, Oliva Serie V Melanio Figuardo
Padron, Padron Black No. 200
Rocky Patel, Rocky Patel 50th Anniversary Toro
Tatuaje, Tatuaje Fausto Limited SA

The IPCPR 2019 Trade Show in Review

A huge ‘Thank you!’ to everyone that came to visit our Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman booth at the IPCPR Trade Show! We had a great time seeing you all there! 

As we gear up for the PCA (Formerly IPCPR) 2020 trade show, and our 125th anniversary, we will be releasing new cigars, new accessories, and even a brand-new Trade Show booth! We look forward to seeing you all next year!

IPCPR 2019 Recap

IPCPR 2019 Recap

J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente had an incredible time IPCPR 2019. This blog recaps some show highlights, as well as the retail prize winners!

Our ‘Machine-Made’ Cigars Aren’t What They Appear To Be

Our ‘Machine-Made’ Cigars Aren’t What They Appear To Be

J.C. Newman’s 109-year-old El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa Florida is the last-operating cigar factory in what was once known as the Cigar City.  In El Reloj, we roll premium cigars both by entirely hand and by antique, hand-operated cigar machines.

Company founder Julius Caeser Newman purchased our hand-operated cigar machines in the 1930s.  They were built by AMF, the same company that builds bowling ball return machines, and each has approximately 10,000 parts.  Since AMF stopped making these antique machines many decades ago, our team of mechanics carefully restores and maintain them, including fabricating custom replacement parts when needed.

Our antique cigar machines do not make small cigarettes or cigarillos. There is no button to press that will churn out cigars in an automated way.  Unlike modern, fully automated, high-speed machines that can produce millions of cigarettes or little cigars per hour, our antique cigar machines are operated by a highly trained cigar roller. 

The skilled roller uses her hands to individually lay each wrapper leaf for every cigar that she rolls.  She also uses foot pedals, much like those seen on vintage sewing machines, to control the antique machine.  At most, our cigar rollers can roll 15 cigars per minute using our antique, hand-operated cigar machines. 

The cigars we roll using our hand-operated cigar machines are works of art.  We use high quality, premium cigar tobaccos from all over the world on these special cigars.  We sell them in bundles instead of fancy boxes in order to keep them affordable.  You may be familiar with some of the cigars we roll here. Mexican Segundos, Trader Jack’s, Tampa Trolleys, and even the cigar Stanford Newman named himself, Factory Throwouts to name a few.

We are proud of all the cigars we roll in our El Reloj factory. We employ more than 100 incredible, including cigar blenders, rollers, and packagers.  Our antique, hand-operated cigar machines are an important part of America’s premium cigar tradition, we are able to keep tha tradition alive in Cigar City.  Pick up a Tampa-made cigar today and don’t forget to tag us on social media with the hashtag #jcnewman when you smoke it!

Drew Newman Testimony at Small Business Hearing in Tampa

Drew Newman Testimony at Small Business Hearing in Tampa


U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, convened a hearing on Friday, April 5th, 2019 titled, “Keeping Small, Premium Cigar Businesses Rolling.”

Witness, 4th Generation Owner, and General Cousel  Drew Newman, delivered the following testimony:

 

Testimony of Drew Newman

General Counsel and Great-Grandson of the Founder

J.C. Newman Cigar Co.

April 5, 2019

Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and Members of Congress.

In 1895, my great-grandfather, J.C. Newman, founded our family business.  Four generations and 124 years later, we are the oldest, family-owned, premium cigar company in America.

Here in Tampa, we proudly roll premium cigars the same way that my great-grandfather did a century ago – both by hand and by hand-operated, antique machines from the 1930s.  We have 136 hard working and dedicated employees. 

Premium cigars are all natural, handcrafted products that are just like fine wines.  Just as the soil, sunlight, wind, and rain cause a grape grown in California to taste differently than the same grape grown in Oregon, the same is true of premium cigar tobacco.  As with wines, certain vintages or years are better than others.  And aging both wines and cigars enhances their taste.  Many winemakers blend different grapes to create unique tasting wines; we do the same with premium cigar tobacco.  We harness natural variation to make interesting blends for low-volume, limited edition cigars.  None of this is standardized, written down, or formulaic.  It is not a science.  It is an art, and the tradition has been passed down from generation to generation.

Premium cigars are just 3% of the cigar industry and just one half of one percent of the tobacco industry as a whole.  We are a tiny sliver of the tobacco world. 

We are deeply concerned that FDA is regulating our small industry out of business by treating our handcrafted, premium cigars like a scientific product and creating standards that are impossible for us to meet. 

In 2016, FDA adopted a “one size fits all” policy for tobacco and applied the massive and costly regulatory scheme developed for cigarettes to handcrafted, premium cigars.  This approach simply does not work for several reasons:

To create a new cigar, FDA requires it to be “substantially equivalent” to one sold in 12 years ago in 2007. This process is so exhaustive that it is expected to cost $250,000 for a single new cigar.  Moreover, the concept of “substantial equivalency” does not work because no two premium cigars are alike, and they change over time.  A cigar rolled in 2007 tastes different today than it did a decade ago.  

FDA is requiring that we redesign our packaging to apply massive new warning labels.

FDA is requiring us to test every type of cigar. Not only are there are no standards for testing premium cigars, but costs ($18,000 per size) are enormous.  This is particularly a problem since premium cigars are often made in small batches like craft beer.

We are paying thousands of dollars in user fees per day so that FDA can regulate us.

According to current estimates, it will cost approximately $30 million for our historic Tampa cigar factory to comply with FDA regulation.  This is why FDA estimated that regulation would force as much as 50% of the cigar industry out of business.

Unlike “Big Tobacco,” the premium cigar industry is made up almost entirely of small, family businesses like ours.  We sell our premium cigars to 3,000 specialty retailers across the country.  These are mom-and-pop, small family businesses with just a handful of employees.  Our boutique premium cigar industry simply cannot absorb these massive regulatory costs.

In 2009, Congress gave FDA authority to regulate tobacco products to address (a) youth usage and (b) addictiveness.  However, FDA’s own research has shown that (a) children do not smoke premium cigars and (b) the typical consumer smokes 1.7 premium cigars per month, a frequency that is not consistent with addiction.  Premium cigars are an old-world, handmade craft enjoyed by adults infrequently for relaxation and celebration. 

We respect FDA’s mission and the important work that it does to protect public health.  However, there is no scientific basis for FDA to regulate premium cigars.  

We are extremely grateful to Chairman Rubio and Congresswoman Castor for reintroducing bipartisan legislation to exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation.  The entire premium cigar industry, including the Cigar Association of America, Cigar Rights of America, and the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association, supports exemption.

Our one goal as a family business is to continue my great-grandfather’s legacy and hand roll premium cigars in America for another four generations and 124 years. 

Thank you very much.

You can also watch the full hearing on Facebook. Click here.