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.”


    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.


      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
      COVID-19 Update

      COVID-19 Update

      We are continuing to roll cigars as usual at our J.C. Newman El Reloj factory in Tampa, Florida and at our J.C. Newman PENSA factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, but we will evaluate our operations as the situation develops. As a family business, we are very concerned about our employees and their families and are encouraging our staff who are ill, more vulnerable to illness, or need to stay home to care for children or aging relatives, to remain at home. We have also asked our sales people around the country to cancel their travel and work close to home for the time being.

      In uncertain times like these, we think of the past. Our family business has survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, and many other challenges over the past 125 years, and we are certain that we will overcome this new business challenge as well.

      In the depths of the Great Depression in 1933, my great-grandfather ran our cigar factory at full capacity with two shifts per day so that his employees could continue to earn an income for their families. The company did not make a profit that year, but being able to keep his workers employed during such a difficult time caused my great-grandfather to view the year as a success. If the economy worsens, being able to support our loyal and hardworking employees will again be our primary goal this year.

      For hundreds of years, adults have enjoyed premium cigars for relaxation and celebration. During this time of social distancing, we hope that a fine cigar can continue provide moments of pleasure for adults around the world who may not be able to enjoy other parts of life right now.



      Drew signature

      Drew Newman
      Fourth Generation Owner
      General Counsel

      Cigar Life Lakeland Diamond Crown Lounge

      Cigar Life Lakeland Diamond Crown Lounge


      Join us on February 29, 2020 from 12 pm – 4pm at Cigar Life in Lakeland, FL for food, music, prizes, and specials on Diamond Crown Cigars!

      As of November, Cigar Life in Lakeland, Florida is now a designated Diamond Crown Lounge!


      Cigar Life: A Cigar Institution


      For years, Mario and Patty Medina, owners and operators of Cigar Life Lakeland, have been friends of the Newmans, supporters of local nonprofits, and lovers of premium cigars.

      Cigar Life opened almost three years ago, and ever since, has been renowned for a widely stocked humidor, relaxing environment, and above all else; superior customer service. The Facebook and Google reviews for Cigar Life number in the hundreds, each one more complimentary than the next.

      “We have a 2,400 square foot lounge that meets the top criteria of what cigar smokers are looking for…no one leaves unsatisfied.”

      But it’s not just the cigars that Mario and Patty bring to the public…it’s also the opportunity to give back.

      Cigar Life hosts a yearly event to benefit the Southeastern Guide Dogs, an organization that Bobby Newman, Executive Vice President of J.C. Newman, has worked closely with for decades.

      “After we attended Havana Nights last year, we were so moved by the cause. We have a huge veteran customer base, and so it fit well for us; it was something we really wanted to get behind.”


      cigar life lakeland staff with jc newman staff
      Elevating Diamond Crown

      Though it has been made “official” on the dotted line, Cigar Life has been an advocate for the Diamond Crown line of cigars for years. While boasting a humidor filled with a number of premium and boutique brands, there is something about the Diamond Crown cigars that Mario and Patty keep returning to.

      Diamond Crown has always had a big place in our hearts…we’ve always had an affinity for the Newman brands. We love the legacy they bring to the cigar industry. Who they are, what they do, and how they give back is a fit for us. Our core beliefs about customer service and quality align well with what the Newmans are doing.”

      The legacy of Diamond Crown, and what it stands for – history, quality, patience, and elegance – match the mission and efforts of Cigar Life in a way that made them a natural fit as a Diamond Crown Lounge.

      What you can expect from Cigar Life 

      Cigar Life holds their annual anniversary party every January (find more information about their January 18th party here). Be sure you also mark February 29th on your calendar for the grand opening of Cigar Life as a Diamond Crown Lounge. More details are coming, so do not forget to follow along on our social media!


      Cigar Life Lakeland Inside the Lounge

      Cigar Life

      Address: 5724 Florida Ave S, Lakeland, FL 33813
      Phone: (863) 603-8495

      Website: https://cigarlifellc.com/

      M – Th: 11 am – 9 pm
      F – S: 10 am – 10pm
      SUN: 12 pm – 6pm

      interior cigar life lakeland humidor
      Investing in the Future

      Investing in the Future

      As the oldest, family-owned premium cigar maker in America, J.C. Newman Cigar Co. has 124 years and four generations of history. Although my great-grandfather’s legacy and the lessons we have learned along the way are an important part of our company’s culture, J.C. Newman is anything but stuck in the past.

      In preparation for our 125th anniversary next year, my father, uncle, and I are making a series of strategic investments in our family business. Some of these changes are operational while others are more cosmetic. However, all of these are investments in our long-term future. Our one goal as a company is to continue our family’s four-generation tradition of handcrafting premium cigars for another four generations and 100 years. 

      New Shipping Department

      This summer we converted an old cigar box factory adjacent to El Reloj into a new, 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art shipping warehouse for Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman cigars and accessories.  This modern facility is three times the size of our old ship-ping department.  It has significantly increased our shipping capacity and will allow us to provide faster order processing and delivery to our authorized retailers throughout the United States.



      cigar shipping department

      Expanded Capacity at J.C. Newman PENSA

      The most important ingredient of any great cigar is high quality, aged tobacco.  There is simply no short cut to the years that it takes to properly ferment and age premium cigar tobacco.  As our sales of Brick House, Perla del Mar, Quorum, and our other brands continue to increase, we have run out of space to store and age our tobacco at our J.C. Newman PENSA factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.  Therefore, this month we are opening, a new, two-story tobacco warehouse adjacent to our factory so that we can increase our long-term tobacco inventory and ensure consistent blends for decades to come.

      Restoring El Reloj

      Our iconic El Reloj cigar factory in Tampa, Florida has been our home since my great-grandfather bought this historic building in 1954.  As a 109-year-old factory, however, El Reloj has been showing its age. This year we are investing in restoring El Reloj so that it can proudly continue Ybor City’s cigar legacy for another century. Among other things, we are replacing decades-old electrical systems and original plumbing.  We are reinforcing structural supports and repairing damaged floors.  We are updating our offices and restrooms throughout the factory and are rebuilding our terrazzo entrance steps. While all this work is taking place in El Reloj, we are still rolling 60,000 cigars per day and are shipping thousands of packages to customers around the country each week.


      Creating the American Cigar Destination

      When we rededicate El Reloj and reopen it to the public in early 2020, we will unveil what will become a premier destination for cigar tourists in the United States.  Our factory will be open to the public for tours.  We will have three floors of exhibits and event spaces, including a new, cigar museum with a theater showing historic cigar films.  We will have a new factory store showcasing cigars from Ybor City.  We will open a new handmade cigar factory on our third floor where we will roll The American and other cigars by hand.  We will have a rolling school where we will teach visitors how to roll cigars and will offer classes on cigar blending and tasting.  Just as wineries, distilleries, and breweries attract large crowds, we expect to welcome a thousand visitors per week to El Reloj next year. We hope that you will visit us!

      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. 


      Cigar Club of Nashville Interior

      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.

      Cigar Club of Nashville Patrons
      Patricia and her daughter of Cigar Club

      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.

      Cigar Club Nashville exterior



      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: https://cigarsnashville.com/

      Address: 2148 N Gallatin Road
      Madison, TN 37115

      Phone: 615-859-2425

      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 


      diamond crown havana series humidors

      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!

      The American Cigar
      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!

      J.C. Newman Announces the Launch of The American on May 31

      J.C. Newman Announces the Launch of The American on May 31

      J.C. Newman Cigar Company, America’s oldest family-owned premium cigar maker, is excited to announce the launch of The American cigar brand at two simultaneous events in Orlando and Tampa on Friday, May 31:

      Date:               Friday, May 31

      Time:               6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m


      Corona Cigar Co.
      7792 W. Sand Lake Rd.
      Orlando, FL 32819

      Jeff Borysiewicz
      and Drew Newman   



      Davidoff of Geneva Since 1911
      4142 W. Boy Scout Blvd.
      Tampa, FL 33607

      Bobby  Newman
      and Eric Newman

      drew newman and jeff



      What makes The American unique is that it is the first 100% American cigar.  These luxury cigars are hand rolled by Americans in a historic United States cigar factory using heirloom American cigar tobaccos.  The boxes, bands, labels, cigar molds, cellophane tubes, and other parts of this unique project are all made in the United States as well.

      “The American speaks to the heart of who we are: a four-generation, 124-year-old, American family business,” said Drew Newman, great-grandson of company founder J.C. Newman.  “Our country’s rich premium cigar tradition dates to the Colonial Era.  As an American, I wanted to prove that we could hand roll a world-class cigar in the United States using American tobaccos.  I am thrilled that we have created an outstanding all-American cigar.”


      The American is the first cigar rolled with Florida Sun Grown wrapper, grown by Corona Cigar Co.’s Jeff Borysiewicz in Clermont, Florida.  The binder is Connecticut Broadleaf grown by eighth-generation family farmer Jon Foster and the filler is a blend of Foster’s Connecticut Havana tobacco with tobaccos grown by the Mennonites in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  

      “We are delighted to see our exclusive Florida Sun Grown wrapper tobacco being used on a cigar that is hand crafted in America’s ‘Cigar City,’” said Borysiewicz.  “A hundred years ago, it was commonplace for Florida-grown tobacco to be rolled into cigars in Tampa’s numerous cigar factories. We are proud to be working with the Newman family to bring back this long lost cigar-making tradition after a 50 year hiatus.”

      The American was the first brand of cigars rolled in J.C. Newman’s El Reloj factory when it opened in 1910 in Ybor City, Florida.  J.C. Newman has recreated this historic brand in El Reloj to celebrate J.C. Newman’s 125th anniversary next year.  In anticipation of this anniversary, J.C. Newman is investing in a major historic restoration of El Reloj.  This project includes a new cigar museum, factory store, handmade cigar factory-within-a-factory, tours, seminars, and event space.  Once complete next year, El Reloj will be the premier destination for cigar tourism in the United States.  

      The American will initially be released in four sizes and in boxes of 20 with a suggested retail price of between $16.00 and $19.50.  For more information about J.C. Newman and The American, please visit: /the-american.