J.C. Newman Ships The American Black Bison Cigar Case

J.C. Newman Ships The American Black Bison Cigar Case

J.C. Newman Cigar Co. Ships The American Black Bison Cigar Case


This uniquely American cigar accessory is handmade in the USA and contains 100% American cigars.
J.C. Newman is also shipping the fall release of The American and Angel Cuesta cigars.


Today, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is shipping The American Black Bison Cigar Case. This limited-edition cigar case is unique because both the case and the special cigars inside are all-American. Both the case and the cigars were made in the United States using all-American components. J.C. Newman is releasing 350 cases with a suggested retail price of $300.

“The American Black Bison cigar case celebrates the centuries-old tradition of American cigar making,” said Drew Newman.  “The craftsmanship of the case and the cigars contained inside is exquisite, and I am very proud that this case is all-American.”  

The case was handcrafted by Brizard and Co. in California using leather from one of the most iconic symbols of the United States, the American Bison. The Bison leather used in this cigar case came from Ted Turner’s ranch in Montana. Inside are three cigars from the first release of The American cigar in 2019. They were rolled in 2018 with wrapper from the 2016 crop of Florida Sun Grown tobacco. These cigars have been aging in the basement Cigar Vault of J.C. Newman’s 113-year-old El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, Florida, for the past five years. 
In addition to The American Black Bison Cigar Case, J.C. Newman is shipping the fall allocation of The American and Angel Cuesta cigars to 107 of the finest premium cigar retailers in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  Both The American and Angel Cuesta are hand rolled in El Reloj.


the american cigars in a cigar box

The American cigars are rolled with 100% heirloom American tobaccos. It is the only cigar rolled with Florida Sun Grown wrapper. Its Connecticut Broadleaf binder is grown by an eighth-generation family farmer. The filler is a combination of a Connecticut Havana and Pennsylvania Mennonite tobaccos. From the wood and hinges on the cigar box to the cigar bands and cellophane tubes, every part of The American is proudly made in the USA.

angel cuesta cigars

Angel Cuesta was created a century ago as the official cigar of King Alfonso XIII who ruled Spain from 1886 to 1931. These luxury cigars feature a beautiful Ecuador Havana Rosado wrapper with a blend of aged binder and filler tobaccos from three continents. Angel Cuesta is finished with a pigtail cap that is reminiscent of an angel’s halo. Two of J.C. Newman’s most experienced cigar rollers roll between 50 and 70 Angel Cuesta cigars per day.

Cigar Journal Lifetime Achievement Award

Cigar Journal Lifetime Achievement Award

Eric and Bobby Newman Receive a “Lifetime Achievement” Award from Cigar Journal Magazine

The award was presented at the annual Cigar Trophy gala at the Intertabac trade show in Germany.

Dortmund, Germany – At its annual Cigar Trophy awards gala today, Cigar Journal magazine presented J.C. Newman Cigar Company’s third-generation owners, Eric and Bobby Newman, with its Lifetime Achievement Award. The event was held in Germany at InterTabac, the international cigar trade show.  Their father, Stanford J. Newman, received this award in 2006.

“We are stunned and humbled to receive this great honor,” said Eric and Bobby Newman.  “This award is especially meaningful to us because our father received this recognition.”

Eric and Bobby joined their family business in the early 1970s.  Together, they have worked for J.C. Newman for a combined 100 years.  As President, Eric oversees manufacturing while Bobby, as Executive Vice President, is responsible for sales and marketing. The two Newmans have led their company through decades of growth and challenges.

“From the decline of the cigar industry in the 1970s, to buying out our relatives in the 1980s, to the cigar boom of the 1990s, to the smoking bans and increased taxation in the 2000s, to excessive government regulation in the 2010s, to the pandemic and cigar boom of the 2020s, we have seen it all,” said the Newmans.

The Newmans are the second family to have received the Lifetime Achievement Award for two generations.  The first was Newman’s longtime partners, the Arturo Fuente family.

“As honored as we are to receive this award, we want everyone to know that we are not retiring,” said the Newmans.  “Our grandfather worked until the day he died.  Our father worked until the day he died.  God willing, we will do so as well!”

Eric Newman is the past chairman of the Cigar Association of America and both he and Bobby serve on its Board of Directors. Bobby is past director Cigar Rights of America. Eric is a past member of the Premium Cigar Association’s Advisory Board.

eric bobby and jeanie
World’s Oldest Cigars

World’s Oldest Cigars

J.C. Newman Unveils The World’s Oldest Cigars

Hand rolled in 1857, the cigars were recovered from the S.S. Central America shipwreck

Tampa, Fla. – Today, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. is unveiling a new exhibit featuring the oldest known cigars in the world at its historic El Reloj cigar factory and museum in Tampa, Florida. The 18 cigars on display were hand rolled in Cuba in 1857. They were found in the wreckage of the S.S. Central America, which sank off the cost of Charleston, S.C. After more than a century at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the cigars were restored by the Ohio State University. J.C. Newman’s new exhibit also includes chewing tobacco and a pipe hand carved from bone that were also recovered from the ship.


“These amazing cigars were rolled before the Civil War and before Tampa became a city,” said fourth-generation owner Drew Newman. “Discovering these cigars is like finding a bottle of wine owned by Thomas Jefferson or Napoleon Bonaparte.”


Earlier this year, J.C. Newman purchased these cigars at an auction featuring artifacts from the S.S. Central America.


“The 18 cigars vary in size because they were rolled by hand without cigar molds, which did not became popular until the late 1800s,” said Newman. “Despite spending 134 years under water, the cigars are still smokable today.”


The exhibit was created by J.C. Newman’s Brooklyn- and Tampa-based design partner, Common Bond Design. It is on display in the basement Cigar Vault of J.C. Newman’s 113-year-old iconic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa’s Ybor City Historic District.


“Prior to the discovery of these cigars, the oldest known cigars in the world were from 1863,” said Newman. “We have checked with the leading cigar publications and collectors, and no one is aware of any cigars older than these.”


oldest cigars in the world in the j.c. newman museum

About The S.S. Central America

In 1848, the U.S. government opened the first post offices in the newly acquired land of California and contracted with steamships to deliver the mail. One set of mail ships traveled between New York and Panama while another set traveled between Panama and California. Mail crossed the isthmus of Panama in canoes and on the backs of pack animals before a railroad was completed in 1855 and the Panama Canal opened in 1914.

One such mail ship was the S.S. Central America. On September 7, 1857, it stopped in Havana on its way from Panama to New York City. While in port, passenger John Dement of Oregon strolled through Havana and bought cigars for the journey. He then secured them in his steamer trunk in his first-class stateroom.

A few days later, the ship encountered a hurricane off the coast of South Carolina. After a valiant effort to save the ship, the S.S. Central America sank on September 12, 1857. Along with hundreds of passengers and crew, tons of gold, and various personal artifacts, Dement’s trunk and its cigars sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean with the ship.

ss central america boat


Recovering the World’s Oldest Cigars

The Columbus-America Discovery Group located the S.S. Central America in 1988 in the Atlantic Ocean 160 miles off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, at a depth of 7,200 feet.


Using a remote operated vehicle called Nemo, researchers recovered Dement’s trunk from the shipwreck’s portside debris field in 1991. They kept the trunk submerged in the same water tank in which it was recovered and transported it to the Ohio State University for further study.

“When we opened the Dement trunk and first observed the undisturbed contents, one of the first things we noticed was quite a number of cylindrical dark-gray organic artifacts lying somewhat randomly on top of the blackened mass beneath,” said Chief Scientist Bob Evans. “We quickly surmised that they were cigars, and this made perfect sense. Havana was the ship’s last port of call. John Dement purchased cigars there and tossed them into his trunk on top of his clothes.”

Scientists at Ohio State carefully rinsed the artifacts in Dement’s trunk, including the cigars, in distilled water. They spread them onto fiberglass screening and put them into a deep freeze around 20 degrees below Fahrenheit for several months. This process allowed the cigars to slowly freeze dry under atmospheric pressure, avoiding vacuum or chemical treatments.


“This technique required patience, but it prevented microscopic fiber collapse, and it was very non-invasive and non-altering,” explained Evans. “It took several months, but eventually the cigars emerged from the deep-freeze in essentially the same condition as they are in today.”

close up on the worlds oldest cigars
Ciento por Ciento 2023

Ciento por Ciento 2023

J.C. Newman Ships Brick House Ciento por Ciento 2023 Cigars

This limited-edition cigar is exclusive to members of the Tobacconist Association of America


Yesterday, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. began shipping the 2023 release of Brick House Ciento por Ciento cigars.  This year’s release is a 6.25” x 54 toro packed in boxes of 10 cigars.  The suggested retail price is $11 per cigar.  J.C. is shipping 800 boxes to TAA members across the United States.

“First rolled in the 1930s, Brick House was one of my great-grandfather’s original cigar brands,” said fourth-generation owner Drew Newman.  “He created this brand to honor the rural village where he was born in Austria-Hungary. The house where he was born was known as the ‘brick house’ because it was the only house in the village made of brick. The bottom floor was a general store and tavern and my family lived on the second floor.”

Brick House Ciento por Ciento cigars are bold and flavorful.  They featured a dark wrapper grown in Nicaragua’s Jalapa Valley.  The binder tobacco is grown in Esteli and the filler comes from three regions in Nicaragua.

“These Brick House cigars are very special because we roll them with 100% Nicaraguan tobacco,” said Newman.  “‘Ciento por Ciento’ means 100 percent in Spanish. These are the only cigars that we roll entirely with Nicaraguan tobacco.”


#             #             #

Find a Ciento por Ciento Retailer Near You

ciento por ciento box of 10 cigars
Drew Newman Testifies Before FDA About Its New Strategic Plan

Drew Newman Testifies Before FDA About Its New Strategic Plan

Drew Newman Testifies Before FDA About Its New Strategic Plan

He encouraged the agency to remember the continuum of risk, that we are an industry of small businesses, and that FDA should help businesses not just penalize them.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down FDA’s regulation of premium cigars. This was a major victory for the premium cigar industry. Because FDA still has the legal authority to try to re-regulate premium cigars now or in the decades ahead, we must remain vigilant and continue to work to protect our right for adults to enjoy a premium cigar. This morning, Drew Newman testified before FDA regarding its strategic plan via Zoom from the rolling room of our El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa. Below are his remarks to FDA.

“Good Morning — My name is Drew Newman of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. I am coming to you from our 113-year-old El Reloj cigar factory in the Cigar City of Tampa, Florida. This is not a virtual background. Behind me we are handcrafting cigars just like my great-grandfather did when he founded our company in 1895.

I want to thank CTP for holding today’s listening session and allowing small family businesses like ours to speak and share our views on the proposed goal areas of CTP’s Strategic Plan.  I’ve read through CTP’s five draft goal areas that Dr. King mentioned and want to offer three things for your consideration:

      1. Please remember the continuum of risk.
      2. We’re an industry full of small businesses.
      3. Compliance should include support, not just enforcement actions.


      1. Continuum of risk.

When he announced his comprehensive regulatory plan for tobacco products in 2017, former Commissioner Gottlieb said, “we must acknowledge that there’s a continuum of risk for nicotine delivery.” He noted that different products can have different levels of harm. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach for all tobacco products, Dr. Gottlieb directed the CTP to tailor its work to fit the unique characteristics of different types of tobacco products. He also directed the agency to focus its limited resources on the parts of the products in the continuum that have the greatest risk.

In reading CTP’s draft goal areas, I am concerned that this philosophy has been overlooked. As CTP continues drafting its strategic plan, please recognize that tobacco includes a wide range of products and adopting a one-size-fits-all policy will not work. Please also include the continuum of risk in your strategic plan. Please let the continuum of risk guide the agency and direct CTP’s limited resources so they can be used in the most efficient and effective way possible.

      1. We’re an industry full of small businesses.

Sec. 900 of the Tobacco Control Act, Congress recognized that there are “Small Tobacco Product Manufacturers.” Sec. 901 directs FDA to establish an office to assist small businesses like ours that manufacturer tobacco products, and Sec. 906 provides extra time for small businesses to comply with new regulatory requirements. I am concerned that CTP’s draft goal areas don’t reflect that we are an industry full of small businesses.

Of course, there are big tobacco companies. However, I would bet that there are there are thousands of small businesses like ours that grow, make, or sell tobacco for every giant tobacco company. For example, we buy our tobacco leaves from small family companies around the world, and the vast majority of our cigars are sold by 3,000 family-owned brick and mortar premium cigar stores in the USA.
As you continue to work on CTP’s Strategic Plan, please remember that the vast majority of tobacco companies are small businesses, and that Congress did not want the agency to overlook them.

      1. Compliance should include support not just enforcement actions.

The proposed the goal area on compliance is pretty intense. What I read is an aggressive focus on going after bad actors. Of course, there are bad actors in every industry and CTP should have robust tools to address them. However, compliance should include more than just legal actions and penalties.

I believe that most people in this world are good people. I also know a lot of good people in the tobacco industry who want to do the right thing but sometimes don’t always know how. As a small business, it can be tough to understand how to comply with hundreds of pages of dense regulations that grow with each year. As you think about compliance, please don’t assume that everyone is a bad actor and think only about fines and criminal penalties. Compliance should also include processes that help regulated businesses understand errors and deficiencies and give them a chance to correct them and come into compliance before the heavy hand of government comes down on them.

As you think about your next Strategic Plan, if CTP staff would ever like to learn more about cigars, please visit us here in Tampa. Just like wineries, breweries, and distilleries, we have a cigar museum, offer guided factory tours, teach cigar-rolling classes and more as we work to keep the centuries-old tradition of American cigar making alive.

Thank you!”

drew newman testifies to fda
Federal Court Strikes Down FDA Regulation of Handcrafted Premium Cigars

Federal Court Strikes Down FDA Regulation of Handcrafted Premium Cigars

Federal Court Strikes Down FDA Regulation of Handcrafted Premium Cigars

Court Found FDA’s Decision to Regulate Premium Cigars to be “Arbitrary and Capricious”

Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulation of handcrafted premium cigars.  As a result, FDA no longer has authority to regulate premium cigars. This is a major victory for the premium cigar industry and is the result of seven years of litigation. FDA could appeal this decision or restart the complex, multi-year process of trying to re-regulate premium cigars, but both seem unlikely.

“We will never forget this day,” said Drew Newman, fourth-generation owner and general counsel of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. in Tampa, Florida.  “For the past seven years, we have been living in regulatory purgatory, knowing that scientific evidence does not support regulating premium cigars like cigarettes and complying with FDA regulation could crush America’s historic premium cigar industry, which is largely comprised of small, family-owned businesses like ours.”

In 2016, FDA decided to treat handcrafted premium cigars like cigarettes and other mass-market tobacco products and subject them to a massive regulatory regime.  Unlike mass-produced products like cigarettes, premium cigars are boutique products, handcrafted in small batches largely by small, family businesses.  The cost to comply with FDA’s countless requirements for reporting, testing, and labeling threatened to destroy the premium cigar industry.  On July 5, 2022, Judge Amit P. Mehta held that FDA’s decision to regulate premium cigars was “arbitrary and capricious” because the agency failed to consider evidence showing that premium cigars are used in moderation and have limited health effects.  Today, Judge Mehta announced that the appropriate remedy is striking down regulation of premium cigars.

“We are not anti-regulation,” said Newman. “The United States has regulated cigars since the 1790s. After today’s decision, premium cigars will still be regulated by ATF, CBP, FTC, TTB, and other federal agencies. Our family’s goal is to hand roll cigars 100 years from now the same way that we do today and that we did 100 years ago. FDA’s attempt to overregulate and treat premium cigars like cigarettes would have made this impossible.”

“Congress told FDA to regulate youth access and addiction in tobacco,” said Newman. “FDA regulation of premium cigars never made sense because, for nearly a decade, we presented evidence to FDA confirming that children do not smoke premium cigars, that adults enjoy premium cigars in moderation, and the health effects of such moderate use are limited.  Last year, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine issued a 520-page report on premium cigars and largely agreed with our analysis of the science, concluding that the overall risk of premium cigars is ‘modest.’” 

Although today’s decision is a clear victory for the premium cigar industry, the Court only provided relief for premium cigars that are entirely handmade, including those that J.C. Newman imports from Latin America.  The Court did not include cigars rolled by hand-operated, antique cigar machines from the 1930s in J.C. Newman Cigar Company’s 112-year-old El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, the last traditional cigar factory still operating in the United States. 

“Although we are thrilled that the Court has provided relief for cigars made entirely by hand, my family and I are disappointed that the Court did not provide relief for our historic Tampa cigar factory as well, particularly given that the science is the same” said Newman.  “Because we want to keep America’s cigar-making tradition alive, we will continue to petition the government to treat the cigars we handcraft in Tampa just like premium cigars imported from overseas.” 

“My family and I are very grateful to our industry’s three trade associations, the Cigar Association of America (CAA), Cigar Rights of America (CRA), and the Premium Cigar Association, for joining together to challenge FDA’s decision to regulate cigars in court five years ago,” said Newman.  “We are especially thankful to CRA, whose 2014 comments Judge Mehta cited as the primary basis for today’s decision and who funded the part of the litigation that led to today’s landmark decision.  We appreciate Michael Edney’s advocacy in litigating this case for the past 6 years, and we remain very grateful to Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) for their unwavering support of Florida’s historic premium cigar industry in Congress.”


    El Reloj Set

    El Reloj Set

    J.C. Newman Cigar Co. Introduces the El Reloj Set

    201 LEGO Bricks Build a Replica of the Historic El Reloj Cigar Factory in Tampa


    Tampa, Fla. – This week J.C. Newman Cigar Co. will be introducing the El Reloj Set at the Premium Cigar Association Trade Show in Las Vegas.  Each set includes 201 authentic LEGO bricks which build the west façade and famous clocktower of J.C. Newman’s iconic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, Florida.  The backside reveals the factory’s 113-year-old clock movement on the first floor and bales of tobacco in the basement.

    “When I was a little kid, I spent lots of time in our historic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, including countless hours on the floor of my dad’s office playing with LEGOs,” said fourth-generation owner Drew Newman.  “I loved LEGOs and I love our iconic building. I am very excited to bring both of these loves together with our new El Reloj set.”

    The suggested retail price of the El Reloj set is $100.  Sets will be available in the J.C. Newman Factory Store and on J.C. Newman’s website at the end of August.

    “I am very grateful to Sherry and Alex Kalita of our design partner Common Bond Design for creating this wonderful way to honor our beloved and world famous cigar factory,” said Newman.

    drew newman with lego el reloj set
    lego el reloj set front
    lego el reloj back side
    J.C. Newman Ships The American Black Bison Cigar Case

    The American Black Bison Cigar Case

    Brizard and J.C. Newman Introduce The American Black Bison Cigar Case


    The limited-edition luxury cigars and case are both handcrafted in the United States

    Tampa, Fla. — In celebration of Independence Day, Brizard & Co. and J.C. Newman Cigar Co. are introducing The American Black Bison Cigar Case.  This three-finger cedar-lined luxury cigar case is handcrafted in California by Brizard with genuine American Bison leather from Ted Turner’s Bison herd in Montana.  Each case contains three vintage three-year-old The American Robusto cigars, which were rolled with 2018 Florida Sun Grown wrapper in J.C. Newman’s historic El Reloj cigar factory in Florida.  This is a limited edition of 350 cases with a suggested retail price of $350. 

    “One of the fundamental requests from J.C. Newman was to have, like the cigar, a 100% American made product,” said Cyril Brizard.  “Bison leather is supple, with many characteristics ranging from natural wrinkles, pebble grains and is four times as resistant as regular cow leather.”

    “I am very proud that The American Black Bison Cigar Case is a 100% American luxury product,” said Drew Newman.  “Bison is an iconic American animal.  Because it is handcrafted in America with American components, this case honors the history of the United States and the tradition of American cigar-making.”

    Brizard further described the case as follows:

    “This three-finger cedar lined case is very masculine yet elegant and packed with understated details that make it so unique. The black bison leather is trimmed with a handmade thin red leather pipping. Inside the case, the edge of the cedar lining is trimmed with The American cigar boxes original cigar box edge strips featuring The American logo. This can only be seen when the case opens. At the base, a polished brass plate features a laser engraved The American logo and a Bison silhouette. On the lower part, an oblong shaped matching brass plate features the serial number ranging from 1/350 to 350/350. After being hand polished and engraved, both plates are sealed with a special brass lacquer used on musical instrument which prevents it from tarnishing over time. The case includes two solid Spanish cedar dividers which have multiple functions; they add structural rigidity, separate three cigars and while seasoned help retain humidity inside the case. Like all Brizard & Co cases, The American Bison case has a tight fit between top and bottom parts in order to ensure optimal seal and ideal humidity. The cases although very light are made mounting the leather of thin galvanized steel plates in order to have structural rigidity and prevent accidental crushing of cigars. They can fit up to three 60 ring gage cigars and can open to different lengths.”

    J.C. Newman Cigar Co. Celebrates the 38th Diamond Crown Cigar Lounge

    J.C. Newman Cigar Co. Celebrates the 38th Diamond Crown Cigar Lounge

    J.C. Newman Cigar Co. Celebrates the 38th Diamond Crown Cigar Lounge

    Bobby Newman opened the newest location at Norwood Royal Cigars in Chicago

    Last night, J.C. Newman Cigar Company’s third-generation owner Bobby Newman opened the 38th Diamond Crown Cigar Lounge at Norwood Royal Cigars in Chicago.  More than 100 cigar enthusiasts packed the store, which is recognized as having the largest humidor in the Midwest. Attendees were treated to passed cocktails and wine, dinner buffet, entertainment, and Diamond Crown luxury cigars.

    “Norwood Royal is a haven for cigar lovers,” said Bobby Newman.  “Vick and Mita Shah have built a world class cigar lounge, and we are so honored that it now bears that Diamond Crown name.” 

    The first Diamond Crown Cigar Lounge opened in 2007.  Today, more than three dozen Diamond Crown Cigar Lounges are located across 20 states.  The full list is below and a map showing the location of each is on J.C. Newman’s website.

    “When smoking bans started to spread two decades ago, our family decided to partner with family-owned cigar retailers like the Shahs to create first-class lounges for consumer to enjoy fine cigars like Diamond Crown,” said Newman.  “It is a privilege for our family to help support a network of destinations for cigar connoisseurs.

    Diamond Crown is a historic cigar brand that J.C. Newman first sold a century ago.  Stanford J. Newman and Carlos Fuente, Jr. reintroduced Diamond Crown Classic to celebrate J.C. Newman’s 100th Anniversary in 1995.  The Diamond Crown family expanded to include Diamond Crown MAXIMUS in 2002, Diamond Crown Julius Caeser in 2010, and Diamond Crown Black Diamond in 2016.  These impeccable luxury cigars are handmade by Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. in the Dominican Republic.


    Norwood Royal Cigars with Bobby Newman
    Bobby Newman with owners of Norwood Royal Cigar Lounge
    bobby newman with owners of norwood royal cigar
    bobby with attendees of norwood royal opening

    List of Diamond Crown Cigar Lounges:

    • Vitola Fine Cigars— Birmingham, AL
    • Cigar King — Scottsdale, AZ
    • Aficionado Cigar & Wine — El Toro, CA
    • The Cigar Parlor — Pleasanton, CA
    • Royal Cigar Lounge — San Diego, CA
    • Stanley Pappas Cigars — Denver, CO
    • Stanley Pappas Cigars — Englewood, CO
    • Corona Cigar Co. — Orlando, FL
    • GarVino’s — Lady Lake, FL
    • PCB Cigars — Panama City, FL
    • Cigar Life — Lakeland, FL
    • Cigars of Tally — Tallahassee, FL
    • Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL
    • The Cigar Shoppe — Cumming, GA
    • Cigars & More — Libertyville, IL
    • Norwood Royal Cigars — Chicago, IL
    • Cigar Chateau & Gifts — Wichita, KS
    • Davidus Cigars — Annapolis, MD
    • Davidus Cigars — Eldersburg, MD
    • Davidus Cigars — Ellicott City, MD
    • Davidus Cigars — Frederick, MD
    • Davidus Cigars — Olney, MD
    • Davidus Cigars — Rockville Pike, MD
    • Davidus Cigars — Shady Grove, MD
    • Davidus Cigars — Urbana, MD
    • Tobacco Rose — Ann Arbor, MI
    • Stogies on Grand — Saint Paul, MN
    • Two Guys Smoke Shop — Hudson, NH
    • Dad’s Cigar Warehouse — Nanuet, NY
    • Havana House — Niles, OH
    • Robusto & Briar — Cleveland, OH
    • King’s Leaf Cigar Lounge — Charleston, SC
    • Tinder Box — Rapid City, SD
    • Addison Cigar & Tobacco — Addison, TX
    • Arlington Cigar Co. — Arlington, TX
    • Blue Smoke of Dallas — Dallas, TX
    • Milan Tobacconists — Roanoke, VA
    • Smokey Joe’s — Tacoma, WA
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration Public Hearing

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration Public Hearing

    Drew Newman Testifies Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

    Drew Newman, fourth generation owner of J.C. Newman Cigar Co., testified before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at its public hearing on the proposed Tobacco Product Manufacturing Standards (Cigar Aficionado article; Halfwheel article).  From the rolling room at J.C. Newman’s historic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, Newman showed how premium cigars are rolled and explained why FDA’s proposed standards won’t work for the small businesses that make up the premium cigar industry.

    Prepared Testimony


    Good Morning.  My name is Drew Newman and I am coming to you from our 113-year-old El Reloj cigar factory in the Cigar City of Tampa, Florida.   This is not a virtual background.  Behind me we are handcrafting cigars just like my great-grandfather did when we founded our company in 1895.


    I want to thank CTP for holding today’s public hearing and allowing small family businesses like ours to testify.  I’ve read through the 300 pages in the Federal Register and, in my brief time today, I want to highlight four things:

    1. Flexibility is essential
    2. It’s a ton a records
    3. Qualifying suppliers is difficult
    4. Batch reports are hard
      1. Flexibility is essential.

      Throughout the proposed rule, CTP writes that the “proposed requirements are written in general terms” – an “umbrella approach” – to allow manufacturers to tailor them to their own businesses.  This is essential.  We are a 127-year-old cigar company.  The way we handcraft cigars is so different from how cigarettes or ENDS products are made.  A one-size-fits-all policy would crush our industry and the small businesses like ours that make up the majority of our industry.  Therefore, please keep this flexibility in the final rule.


      2. It’s a ton of records.

      The proposal would require us to keep detailed records on everything we do, including training, cleaning, staff clothing, pest control, water, product testing, sampling, risk assessments, purchases, and so much more for 4 years.  Honestly, this is a tremendous amount of records and work, and cost for small businesses.  We would have to hire new staff to record all of this.


      3. Qualifying suppliers is difficult.

      I’m very nervous about qualifying suppliers.  We buy our tobacco from a collection of family farmers from around the world.  For example, our Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco is grown by an 8th generation family farmer.  Maintaining all of the detailed records of our own activities will be very hard.  Doing the same and being responsible for the activities of our tobacco farmers, many of whom do not speak English and live in Latin America will be much worse.


      4. Batch reports are hard

      The proposal would require us to roll cigars in batches, keep detailed batch records, and put batch codes on every package.  No one in our industry does this now, and it would be a big challenge to do so.  Here is just one reason why:

      • When we roll cigars, we know when they were rolled and who rolled them.  It’s on this production card.
      • We then age the cigars at least 6-12 months in our aging rooms.  Sometimes a lot longer.
      • When they come back up to be packed, we mix cigars together and sort them by color so that when you open a box, every cigar inside is the same shade of brown.
      • This is how cigars have been made for more than 100 years.
      • Batching makes sense when you make, pack, and ship a product all at once.  But for products like cigars that are aged and sorted, it’s a lot harder.


      drew newman fda hearing

      As I am running out of time, I’ll put the rest of our concerns in our written comments, but I have some final thoughts:

      1. My family has been rolling cigars the same way for 100 years.  The process hasn’t changed.  Our one goal is to roll cigars the same way for another 100 years.  We’ll fill out whatever paperwork and keep whatever records are necessary.  Just please give us the flexibility to continue rolling cigars like we’ve been doing since 1895.
      2. If you’d like to learn more, please visit us here in Tampa. Just like wineries and distilleries, we offer guided tours, cigar rolling classes and much more as we work to keep the centuries-old tradition of American cigar making alive.
      3. Cigars are just like wine.  They are a natural agricultural product.  Just like with wine, cigar tobacco varies greatly depending on the seed type and the soil where it is grown.  The amount of sunlight, wind, and rain also causes cigar tobacco to vary from year to year.  As cigar makers, we harness this natural variation to create unique and interesting cigars.  It’s an art, not a science.  There is no textbook or rulebook.  Instead, it’s a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.