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!

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.