Ghosts at El Reloj

Ghosts at El Reloj

Tens of thousands of people, cigar enthusiasts and the like have passed through our doors…and some…may have never left.

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

Ybor Misfits Microsanctuary

Ybor Misfits Microsanctuary

“Called the Ybor Misfits Microsanctuary and supported as a nonprofit, it’s where Breese nurses Ybor’s injured and sick feral chickens and takes in and rehomes domesticated ones abandoned in the Latin District.”

J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is proud to announce that our new neighbors are a big peckish!

The Ybor Misfits Microsanctuary is a non-profit organization owned and operated by Dylan Breese that is dedicated to healing and rehoming the injured chickens and roosters that roam freely about Ybor City. Their brand new home is adjacent to our historic El Reloj factory, and we’re doing our part to support them.

When you purchase one of the many items in our museum and factory store that feature the Ybor Chickens, 100% of the profits will be donated to this microsanctuary so they can keep expanding.


ybor chickens
ybor chickens in pens

Where did the chickens come from?

According to this article from the Tampa Bay Times:

“Chickens have been a part of Ybor since it was founded by immigrants of Cuba, Spain and Italy in the late 1800s. Some were part of small farms. Others were in backyards.

The birds remained through the 1970s, when Ybor was populated by low-income housing with residents who kept chickens for food.

The free-roaming flock grew in the 1980s.”

Today, these chickens are part of our cultural identity in Cigar City, and we couldn’t be happier with the work Dylan Breese is doing to keep our chicken and rooster population healthy and thriving!


How can you support Ybor Misfits?

J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is offering our neighbors and visitors many ways to support the Ybor Misfits!

We are carrying coffee mugs, teeshirts, and posters, featuring the resident chickens!

Now available in our factory store, the chicken illustrations, created by Laura Sfiat, depict real chickens with real names that are the ambassadors of the microsanctuary. 100% of all profits from these purchases go directly to the rehabilitation efforts for the chickens and roosters in Cigar City, Tampa, FL.

Visit us at El Reloj M – F 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. to pick up these and other Tampa gifts!

ybor misfits chickens tee shirt poster coffee mug
J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

Fiesta Day 2022 – Presented by J.C. Newman Cigar Co.

Fiesta Day 2022 – Presented by J.C. Newman Cigar Co.

Join J.C. Newman Cigar Company at the 75th Annual Ybor City Fiesta Day!

Ybor City Chamber’s Fiesta Day is a family-friendly, FREE “street festival” celebration commemorating the Cuban, Italian, Spanish, Jewish and German immigrants that settled in Ybor City in the late 1800’s as the cigar factories thrived. Fiesta Day attracts families and people of all ages.

The event originally started as a “verbena” or day of rest for the cigar workers who settled in Ybor City’s “Cigar Capital of the World” from Spain, Cuba, Germany and Italy. It now attracts thousands of passionate people to the festival’s exquisite ethnic food and entertainment.

Fiesta Day is the only event which closes Ybor City’s famed “La Septima” or 7th Avenue to traffic allowing pedestrians to explore the historic streets freely.

Join J.C. Newman Cigar Company and many other Ybor institutions as we celebrate the unique culture which built Cigar City through food, arts & crafts and music.


J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

2021 Cigar Industry Awards

2021 Cigar Industry Awards

January is a very exciting time of year for the cigar industry, and especially for J.C. Newman this year!

January is the month when industry publications reveal their awards for the previous year – in this case, 2021.

As we embark on 2021, here are the awards that J.C. Newman has been honored to receive. A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has taken the time to smoke our new creations like The American and Yagua, as well as our cigars that are tried and true. As America’s oldest, family-owned, premium cigar maker, we strive to bring quality products to market time, and time again.

The American

Perla Del Mar Corojo 

Perla Del Mar Shade


J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

Not Another Average Joe

Not Another Average Joe

It was already too easy to set up the title for this article – a play on the colloquialism ‘Average Joe.’ I’d known for some time that Joe St. Charles would be an interesting subject to interview, but it wasn’t until I sat down with him that I realized the title would be more than just a playful pun.

As the time this article is written, Joe St. Charles has been with J.C. Newman for 11 years. I asked Kara Guagliardo, one of our Marketing Directors, to join me for the interview. She’s known St. Charles since the day he started at J.C. Newman and I knew that meant I could focus on the photos, while putting him at ease for the questions. Before we began I had to ask Kara for his title.

“Cellophane and Packing Department Supervisor and Mechanic. Or, you can do what I do, and call him Special Projects Manager since he takes care of…everything.”

Not so Average Joe.

joe st charles jc newman cigar mechanic

Rather than posing him, I just wanted to follow him around and snap some candid images, to get the full effect of everything he touches at El Reloj.

“I hope you like walking around. That’s basically all I do all day! I wear through a pair of shoes every six months.”

He’s not wrong and Kara and I find ourselves taking photos and conducting this interview in every corner of the second floor, all within the span of 20 minutes. Kara asks St. Charles his age. We both laugh, and I promise I won’t mention it in the article, but it’s very clear these steps are keeping him young.

Inside our factory on the second floor – where all our production takes place – sits 16 rolling machines, eight stripping machines, and seven cellophane machines, and St. Charles has serviced them all.

He’s maintenanced the machines, rebuilt most, and even fabricated parts for those that are no longer being manufactured on a large scale.

But he’s no stranger to the work. St. Charles has been tinkering with machinery from teens. He’s an ASC certified heavy-duty truck technician, he’s been an Airman, a mechanic, an entrepreneur with a lawn service, to name a few occupations.

K: Would you say you’re a Joe of all trades?

Kara is cracking herself up but composes herself enough to ask the next question.

K: So was it all just on-the-job training and you just had some natural mechanical skills?

St C.: Yeah. I bought my first car when I was 15 and I tore the engine out of it, rebuilt it, and put it back in.

But St. Charles’ skills are not simply mechanic; he even dabbled in accounting for a period of time.

St. C: They sat me down in this little cube with no window and I was like, ‘This isn’t gonna last long.’ I was out of there in four months…had to get back to being up and active; getting my hands dirty…”

St. Charles’ next stop in his career was Hav-A-Tampa, a very well-known cigar manufacturer in Tampa that closed in 2009. When it shuttered, he was relocated by their parent company to Puerto-Rico to set up machines in their factories there.

As he’s packing cigars on one of our cellophane machines, Kara rightly asks, “Why would you want to leave Puerto Rico?!” I immediately envision Joe in a Guayabera on the beach.

St. C: Oh. I didn’t want to. I was down there for about eight months, and I got to travel all over. I even made a few trips to the Dominican Republic to help them set up some machines. But I essentially trained myself out of a job!”

K: But do you speak Spanish now?

St. C: I understand more than I speak. Some people here think they’re getting around me, but oh trust me, they’re not.

St. Charles chuckles and it’s clear why people on the second floor look to him as a figure head – he has a kind spirit, but commands respect.

He puts a finger up to pause our interview, then pauses the machine at which he’s standing. There’s a jam and Joe needs to clear it before he can continue.

There’s opportunity to make yet another pun here about St. Charles being very hands-on; after-all, he met his wife Alma when he started at J.C. Newman. But the story he tells is too sweet, and too genuine to corrupt.

cigar mechanic working on antique 1930s cigar machines
joe cigar mechanic and cigar machine operator rolling out tobacco

St. C: I was working on the cigar floor, and they hired her. I saw her walking down the hallway – I was working on a machine and just looked up and I was like “WOAH. Look at that girl.”

St. Charles blushes and his bashful line of vision moves down to the floor.

St. C: I asked her if she wanted to go for a ride on my motorcycle. We went to the beach and had dinner and on the way back boom the engine just blows.

K: Oh sure [Kara inserts a playful arm punch and a wink]. Did you do that on purpose?

St. C: No, no. I mean. I could’ve fixed it I guess.

He’s bluffing, and it’s endearing. It’s clear from other stories that he is still as infatuated with Alma as he was the first time he saw her.

St. C: She’s incredible. Even when we go out [mackeral fishing]. She get’s a charge out of it. We see all these big guys out there barely catch one fish and even when they do, they’re afraid to touch ‘em. Not Alma. She catches them quicker than I can put them in the cooler, and grabs the pliers and pulls out the hook out like a pro.

so I just make sure she has what she needs. I [use compressed air] to blow off her machine at breaks, and make sure she has water…anything!”

He takes care of Alma the way he takes care of everything on the second floor – it’s consistent and it’s honest.

St. Charles makes his way from the cellophane department to Alma’s rolling machine to show us what he’s just described and, on the way, he explains why he sometimes feels underwhelmed. I almost assume it’s a joke, because of the intricacies of how these machines work.

St. C: Yeah when we first got here the machines were in bad shape. They were snapping levers every day – Pablo and I were doing a lot of welding. And some other ones were nothin’ but frames and all the pieces were in a box. And there are a lot of old machines here that were out of commission so we went down and gutted whatever we could because they don’t make the machines anymore. We worked our hind ends out there for a couple years getting them all going. But now we got ‘em – machines don’t really break because the transmissions operate the centrifuge and flip the flux capacitor over with ease.

Admittedly I don’t have my voice recorder on during the final portion of his statement, but the sentiment is the same; I’m floored by everything I don’t understand.

What is the Matrix?

K: In the last 30 minutes we walked around with you, we saw you lead a staff meeting, fix a cellophane machine, transfer production, clean Alma’s machine, and pack cigar boxes. 

St. C: Yeah, that’s about half of what I do in the day.

As lunch is approaching and we’re winding down the interview, I realize we’ve spent all this time asking him questions to curate content for this article. I give him an opportunity to make a statement – to say anything he wants, and he graces me with this absolute treasure of a closing line.

St. C: In life, never be afraid to just go for it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a job or…whatever. Over the course of my life, I’ve owned over 150 cars and trucks and motorcycles. Hot rods, motorcycles, vintage cars. I’ll keep up, re-up them, and sell them. But it’s because I’m not afraid to say yes. I just say, ‘let’s go!’ I can learn anything. Anyone can.

cigar mechanic working on 1910 cigar machine
joe st charles jc newman cigar mechanic
joe cigar mechanic blowing off short filler cigar machine
J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

Never Enough Cooks In the Kitchen…

Never Enough Cooks In the Kitchen…

I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult to convince Aimee Cooks to pose for photos for an article about herself.

Not because she’s not easily one of the most photogenic people in the cigar industry, but because modesty has been her strongest trait in her last 20 years at J.C. Newman, and – as I learned in this interview – maybe her whole life.

Cooks has never fully grasped the gravity of the work she does at El Reloj. It was a no-brainer for me when it came down to who to choose for these employee spotlights, but I wasn’t sure she’d be so convinced to talk openly about herself and her work, given that her title is Human Resources and Tampa Factory Director. H.R. and interviews are not notorious for going hand-in-hand.

I let Aimee know I’m going to record the audio as we take photos and she chuckles nervously, but once I let her know that she can edit her grammar in post-production, she lightens up and lights her Diamond Crown.

For our first photo, I ask her to pick up a rotary phone that hasn’t been in use since 1977 but still hangs just outside the blending room on the 3rd floor of our factory. I ask her to tell me about how she started at J.C. Newman, and how her career has evolved from a part-time role to a position in which she’s hired 90% of the people that work in El Reloj.

“It was June 1, 1997 I’ll never forget my interview.  I had on a power suit. It was yellow, short, tight-fitting. I guess those are back in style now. It was just supposed to be 20 hours a week. I was supposed to work full-time just for a couple of weeks to pick up some slack and that turned into a couple more weeks which turned into months. They asked me to write some policy manuals and then Stanford [Newman] started teaching me about the factory. Then that turned into a human resources role and acting as the in-between person in the office and the factory…I morphed into many different roles after that. I feel like it happened so quickly that I can’t tell you how long I was in payroll to human resources to quality control to export – I’ve touched every part of this business – except marketing.” She chuckles and throws me a wink; ever the jokester, even when she’s in an official HR interview.


Aimee’s actual phone rings. She returns the handset on the rotary phone, silences her cell after a brief apology, and we move on to our next area for photos.

“For whatever reason, Stanford took an interest in my interest for just knowing how the business runs. Three or four times a week…he would come sit in my area and he would just teach me about employees, leadership, his experiences. He was a really great leader. His temperament was a lot different than [his sons] – he was pretty feisty. I see that spirit in Drew now…in this next generation. They’re very similar. They have an idea, they know what they want, and they just go for it.”

There’s something about the way Aimee shifts focus from herself – maybe the Human Resources part of her – but there’s more to her work here than her relationship with Stanford.

Something that doesn’t get mentioned as often as her kindness, tenacity, and loyalty are her more inherent traits. Cooks is a woman, and a Person of Color. Cook’s mother is white, and her father is black, and this is incredible when put into the context of the history of this company. Julius Caeser Newman immigrated to America 30 years after the end of the Civil War. “I am a person of color here, and in the industry and running the show and making cigars and shipping things out. I’m in charge of 150 employees now. With everything that’s happened in the world and throughout history – I am  so proud of my heritage and from where I come. I am happy to see people of color and different ethnic backgrounds in our industry.  I am proud this industry is inclusive and perhaps what has drawn me in and helped me to stay.” 

“The expectation from my family was that you would go to college, get your degree, and come home again. And when I was 28 and I packed up my family to move [to Tampa] and months leading up to the move my family would try to discourage me from going. But when I moved away from home, my goal was to raise my family. I would do something part-time, but as soon as I could, I was going to shift my focus to being a full-time wife and mother. It was my uncle that pulled me aside and said, ‘You know what Aims, one day, you’re going to be running that place’ – meaning J.C. Newman Cigar Co. I shrugged it off. But now looking back at where I started and where I am now and everything I’ve done here – he was right. No one can take that away.”


This is the second story she’s told me about people in her life – Stanford, and her uncle – that saw in her what she never saw in herself. I call it to her attention. She blinks, hard, and says, “huh, I guess you’re right.” It’s such a genuine reaction, it’s clear she’s never considered this before.

I ask Cooks to sit on our rolling tables and prop up her Cole Haan shoes; a single pair that numbers among what I know is her massive shoe collection. They’re too gorgeous not to make them the focus of her photo and so I ask her about them.

“I just love shoes.” She kicks them up and twists her ankle around, admiring them as if it’s the first time she’s tried them on. She says this with such a girlish enthusiasm I am instantly charmed. As an employee at J.C. Newman, I’m so used to seeing Cooks take a firm stance, setting rules, hours, regulations – it’s infectious to see her glow this way.

Aimee’s walkie talkie buzzes to life.

This is the first time in the three years I’ve worked here that I’ve noticed just how frequently she’s contacted day-to-day. It’s like moving to a home right near train tracks – eventually you start sleeping through the horn in the night. Each of the problems that have arisen during this photoshoot will be handled and handled well. Her team knows that. She might be a little too accessible.

She clicks it to the off position and asks me where we left off.

Aimee with cigar

 I set up a chair and ask Cooks to sit under a few signs hanging in our third-floor hand rolling room. These signs were recovered during the factory restorations, and so it’s a nice segue to move onto the topic of just that.

“I cannot tell you how absolutely touched I was that the Newmans – and Drew specifically – trusted me. [Drew] took a chance on me. I don’t know why. But that was probably the biggest moments in my “career.”” She uses air quotes when she says career, further emphasizing her modesty. “I don’t know anything about construction! I appreciate the confidence they had in me.”

If you’ve been to the factory since our restoration, you know that this seems like a lie. Each space has been curated, and opened, and changed to welcome visitors but also provide a more efficient and safe space for employees to work. “But that’s what the Newmans do. They make you feel confident, and they trust you, and they give you the tools to get better and do better.”

We move to the shipping department for one final photo – this is Cooks’ domain. She may have started in payroll, and she may have a big desk in the office now, but this is where she is at the top of her game. The fluorescents make it hard to capture her flawless skin and so I ultimately opted out of using in this article, but while she giggles and shares a few awkward glances with the employees gathered around, I get a quick shot, and we wrap the interview.

It’s clear to everyone how proud Cooks is of how far she’s come, even if she isn’t always consciously thinking about it. The legacy that her name will leave for her family, and the imprint she made on this factory, these employees, and this company will stand the test of time.

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

The Thing About Storms in Tampa…

The Thing About Storms in Tampa…

When we sat down to plan out the props we should use in these photos, Tropical Storm Fred was making his way through the Caribbean. The cone of uncertainty put his trajectory up through the Gulf of Mexico. It would turn out to be nothing more than a quick shower, but the threat loomed in the distance.

Tampa has had its fair share of storms, most of which skirt by, subjecting our citizens – luckily – to limited damage. We’ve learned to prepare, but shrug, when another storm starts brewing in the Atlantic, avoiding calls from friends and family urging us to evacuate. Every time a Florida Man strikes, a tropical storm gets its name.

That’s why it was so peculiar when Tyler Storms (capital S on this one) made landfall at J.C. Newman just three short years ago. The impact has been nothing short of incredible.

Storms is an artist and graphic designer at J.C. Newman and has been responsible for much of the art on the cigars you enjoy every day. The American, Yagua, and Perla del Mar. Just to name a few.

Storms settles onto a stool in one of the beautifully restored factory bathrooms to cut and light his cigar. I open Spotify on my phone and select Smokin In the Boys Room. It gives us a comedic relief moment.

“I’m out of my comfort zone here but this helps.” I’ve asked him to model – to look this way, look that way, smile more, smile less. He’s used to being in control of the final product and that just isn’t the case here.

We switch the music to LoFi hip hop. Clair de Lune by Orange Stick is Storms’ selection. “The original by Claude Debussy is my absolute favorite song, but this one is just as good.” So flippant. He loosens up enough for me to ask questions about what inspires him to bring his designs to life.

man with cigar
man with cigar

“First I think, ‘What would I want? Does this appeal to me personally? And then I put myself in someone elses’ shoes. What’s the first impression [when they walk into the humidor]? When someone smokes a cigar, they’re using all their senses. Touch, taste, smell, sight…I want the whole experience to be cohesive, to engage and delight.'” He says this as he stares down at his Perla Del Mar cigar and then chuckles. “I smoke the cigars I design for, but I mean there’s no flavor that makes me say, ‘Hey this tastes like red’ so it’s a lot of looking through Pinterest, our archives [at the factory] and Frankenstein-ing ideas. Each creative project has its own unique set of challenges, therefore each has its own unique process.”

Storms is also in a particularly lucky position working out of El Reloj, our 111-year-old historic cigar factory. The Newmans have saved everything – boxes, labels, bands, newspaper clippings – and so there’s no shortage of inspiration. The faces of the clock on our historic tower have fallen victim to a number of hurricanes, but the fortress that is the factory has kept our records neat and clean. We travel to the basement for our next round of images – it’s also where all our archives are kept.

Perla Del Mar – Looking to the past is important in a lot of design work and it was especially influential during Storms’ creation of Perla Del Mar. “I love the vintage look of everything, so this is a good industry for me to be in. Modern design is just…everyone can do it. The vintage look takes a lot of work.  In the beginning, I was simply tasked to update the old packaging by colorizing the label. After several reviews, we all felt that this simply wasn’t enough. The old Perla Del Mar wasn’t lining up with our company brand.”

While many of us on the team agreed that we shouldn’t stray too far from the core of PDM, it did need to be elevated.

“Rescuing the original word-mark from the antique Perla Del Mar label, maintaining the current illustration on the label, and developing a new band created this fusion of past, present, and future. It was exciting and daunting. This project was certainly a big challenge.”

On hearing the word “challenge” I’m inspired to hand him a parenting book as a prop for another photo. This image wouldn’t make its way to the final blog post.

“I feel silly. This isn’t natural.” He means the pose, not parenting, but it does open another topic of conversation.

Last year, Storms and his wife Rachel welcomed their son Wes to the world, and he tells me how having a baby changes his creative process.

“It’s changed everything. I [used to] to spend a lot of time in decision making because I’m a thinker but now every choice I make – I feel it has to happen more rapidly.”

“I would also say that how you do one thing, is how you do everything. I was always passionate about being a good man, husband, and father. I have always been passionate about art and design. In both areas of my life, I always strive to do my very best and I always ask myself, ‘Did I give it my all, and how can I improve?’”

We move away from the book picture quickly to something more natural and talk about creating something from scratch.


man with foot on chair
man with cigar

YAGUA – “This authentic and inspiring story called for an authentic design.”

While the story of Yagua is old (you can read all about Lazaro Lopez and his grandfather on our Yagua page), the design was new. This was a unique challenge and one Storms was not going to take lightly.

“The cigars were handmade and rolled with raw materials. There wasn’t any pre-made source to aid in the cigar-making process. A truly rustic approach…so I challenged myself to echo this idea into a rustic handmade design.”

“When developing the packaging, it was essential to look to the past. Developing the logo, my inspiration came from typography and cigar brands of the early 1900s…we knew this band had to feel traditional.”

Storms climbs into a lounge chair as he talks through the hand illustrations he scribbled away at for the Yagua word-mark, Cuban palm tree on the box, and filigree ornamentation on the band and label. We snap a few photos and he adjusts his posture. “Can we get one where I’m sprawled out?” Evidently, we’ve taken enough photos for him to become comfortable and start calling the shots.

We’re momentarily joined by Nik Psilopoulos, our third-floor cigar production specialist. He pops in with a few questions from a different perspective, which allows me a break from playing journalist to just take photos.

N: What’s it like working on an art form that used to be performed with stones?

T: Stone lithography [chuckle]. Well it’s nice because that was painstaking, and there wasn’t a ton of room for mistakes – with technology I get to make all the mistakes I want. Storms wipes an imaginary drip of sweat off his forehead and continues. Although I will tell you a lot of times my first idea is my best idea and I’ll build off that. It either comes our great the first time or I have to scrap it and start all over.”

A very timely rain shower begins outside, and casts a moody light through the abundance of windows in the handrolling room. An air of nostalgia hits and I ask Storms about his very first “big project” at J.C. Newman – The American.

man sitting on trunk

The American – “I knew immediately, this was a very special project. It was my first year at J.C. Newman. It made me think, ‘What an authentic story to be told, and what an honor it is to be a part of it.’” Tyler’s particular brand of modesty served him well during this project. The American was, after all, a band, label, and edging that was already in existence, and the cigar was Drew Newman’s creation.

Storms was tasked with developing the box design, the Guarantee Seal, “The American Story” booklet, The American Map poster, and more.  The set of challenges here had to do with the 100% American piece. The vision had to work within the constraints of American colors, American plates, American paper, American wood.

“At The American Launch Party, I really saw this brand come to life…I witnessed everyone become delighted, true fans of our craft. That is my goal as a designer, to cultivate a memorable brand experience.”

Nik popped back in with the perfect question to round out our interview as the rain tapered to a halt.

N: What’s it like working for the Newmans?

T: I love that Drew and the Newman’ stay true to the heart of who they are and cigar making in general. They don’t stray far from tradition and maintain authenticity. To be a part of something that’s been around a century and continue that tradition is special. Its impacted the lives of so many people in the past, and to be included in it today is an absolute honor.

N: You’re an important piece of this though, too. You’re not necessarily the meat of the sandwich but I do feel like you’re the lettuce – you’re the crunch.



J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

Visit Tampa Bay Names Newmans the “Ambassadors of the Year”

Visit Tampa Bay Names Newmans the “Ambassadors of the Year”


Last night, Eric, Bobby and Drew Newman, were awarded the 2021 ‘Gonzmart Family Tourism Ambassador(s) of the Year’ by Visit Tampa Bay. 

During the award reception, many Tampa Bay area individuals and business owners were recognized for their contributions to the tourism industry. Speeches from Mayor Jane Castor and Visit Tampa Bay President and CEO Santiago Corrada highlighted the achievements from this past year.

Visit Tampa Bay reports its first-ever $4 million in the month of May in the history of its tourist development collections. May collections, reflecting April, totaled $4,001,405, a 22.05% increase over the previous record set in May 2019. This takes tourist development collections for the first eight months of the fiscal year to $21,685,010, a 12.67% decrease over the same period in the previous year. 

In the month of April, Tampa Bay occupancy ranked ahead of the national and State average with the U.S. totaling 57.5%, the State totaling 71.5% and Tampa Bay totaling 77%. And despite having more hotel supply than ever before, leisure business ramped up for Memorial Day Weekend (Friday through Monday visitation) averaging 80.6% hotel occupancy in Hillsborough County, a 13.5% increase over the same holiday period in 2019. 

Visit Tampa Bay’s recovery campaign has generated 83.1 million impressions, bringing in $50.3 million in incremental hotel bookings since October. The growth continues in the meetings sector as Tampa Bay continues to host high-profile meetings such as Destinations International’s CEO Summit and the upcoming Connect Marketplace in August, along with a dozen relocated meetings from larger cities.

Over the past few years, the J.C. Newman Cigar Company factory, El Reloj has been undergoing a massive restoration project. We opened our doors to the public last October, and have been welcoming in guests to learn about the tradition of cigar making, and the role that cigars played in building Tampa into the city that it is today.

J.C. Newman employees and friends of the family gathered in our historic, 111-year-old factory, to give personal testimonies about the Newman’s, and their strides to keep the history of Cigar City alive. You can see that video below:


Upon receiving the award, Eric Newman said, “I’m really touched, overwhelmed…on behalf of the 150 members of our family we want to say ‘Thank You.’ This is not only for the Newman family…it’s for the city of Tampa. My grandfather [Julius Caeser Newman] made the decision to move our family to Tampa in 1954, and that was the greatest decision of my life.”

“My father, uncle, and I were surprised, humbled, and grateful for this recognition,” said Drew Newman, general counsel and fourth-generation cigar maker.  “It is our sincere privilege to keep Tampa’s cigar-making tradition alive and teach future generations about how important the cigar industry has been to this history and culture of Tampa.”

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

J.C. Newman Celebrates Founder’s Day

J.C. Newman Celebrates Founder’s Day



J.C. Newman Celebrates Founder’s Day


J.C. Newman Cigar Company is excited to host our first ‘Founder’s Day’ celebration at our cigar factory, El Reloj, in Tampa, FL.

Join us on Saturday, May 15th from 10 am – 2 pm for tours, food trucks, lawn games, entertainment, and factory store deals. This is a family-friendly event and we’re excited to host you all.

While our normal hours are Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5:30 pm to accommodate our cigar staff, we wanted to give the public an opportunity to see our recently completed factory restoration project and experience the history of cigar city while celebrating many of our own milestones.

May 5th is the day J.C. Newman Cigar Co. was founded, and May 26th is Julius Caeser “J.C.” Newman’s birthday, so we’re wrapping them both up into one large celebration with local vendors.

Food will be available from food trucks Calicatessen, Street Surfer, Kona Ice, and Commune and Co. Coffee. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase and poured by Spunky Spirits. If you want to book a tour, you can do so at this link: /visit-us/

To be mindful of COVID-19, the tours will be for up to nine guests only, and six tours will be available throughout the day. The tours will fill up fast. To ensure your space, we encourage you to book online ahead of time.

The museum is free and will be open to the public for exploring for the entirety of the day, but we do ask that if you purchase a cigar, you smoke it outside on one of our available tables – ashtrays will be provided! Be sure you are following us on Instagram to get 10% off your purchase in our museum and factory store.

Parking is free and available across the street on Columbus Ave.

If you have any questions about this event, you can reach us at our Contact Form!

We can’t wait to host you as we celebrate the founders of America’s oldest, family-owned, premium cigar maker!

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...

El Reloj Turns 111

El Reloj Turns 111

El Reloj Turns 111

Next week, our factory, El Reloj, is turning 111 years old, and we want you to help us celebrate!

Join us on Wednesday, March 31, for free tours*, guest lectors, and special factory store ‘1910 Pricing.’

We’re offering six free tour slots throughout the morning, and from 10 am – 12 pm, we will have guest lectors including The Columbia’s Richard Gonzmart, publisher of La Gaceta, Patrick Mantiega, and fourth generation Tampeño and host of The Tampa Natives Show, Mario Nuñez! They’ll be reading to our hand rollers on the third floor and when you stop in to see, it’ll feel just like you’re back in the early 1900s!

We’ll also be offering free coffee from Foundation Coffee Co. from 9 am – 11 am! Their mobile espresso station will be ready to whip up a drink for you to pair with your favorite J.C. Newman cigar.

As a bonus, when you make any purchase from the factory store, you’ll be eligible to purchase an El Reloj cigar at the 1910 price of $0.05! But you’ll have to come early – we’re only selling 111 cigars in honor of the 111th birthday!

Join us for the whole day:

  • Factory opens at 9 am
  • Free coffee from Foundation Coffee Co. pouring from 9 am – 11 am
  • Free Tours beginning at 9:30 am
  • Guest Lectors
    • 10 am: Eric Newman
    • 10:15 am: Bobby Newman
    • 10:30 am: Mario Nuñez
    • 10:45 am: Manny Leto
    • 11:00 am: Richard Gonzmart
    • 11:30 am: Patrick Mantiega

*Due to Covid restrictions, we are only allowing 9 people per tour – we strongly advise that you make a reservation ahead of time to guarantee your spot.

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar

J.C. Newman Introduced Tampa Smokers Cigar with Baseball All Stars This new brand honors Tampa’s historic minor-league baseball team, the Tampa Smokers.   Tampa, Florida – Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. introduced Tampa Smokers cigars at an event hosted by the...