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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Industry Braces for Irma, Cigar Makers Help in the Wake of Harvey, and More

8 Sep 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 546th in the series.

1) At the time of this writing, Hurricane Irma is a category five storm with a potential path of destruction that includes several major cigar-producing and premium tobacco-growing regions, including Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and South Florida. Irma threatens tobacco fields, factories, warehouses, shipping operations, and administration facilities. Obviously, with a natural disaster of this magnitude, cigars are not a top consideration, nor should they be; make no mistake that human lives are at risk, as Irma has already tragically left 13 dead. That said, it bears reporting that this storm may have a considerable impact on the cigar industry. To give you an idea of the severity of the hurricane: “Irma’s 185 m.p.h. wind speeds persisted for more than 24 hours, the longest period ever recorded. The French weather service described it as the most enduring superstorm on record,” reports the New York Times. With respect to Cuba, “The National Hurricane Center said hurricane conditions are possible from Matanzas all the way to the tip of Cuba and could begin in the watch area by Friday,” reports the Miami Herald. “By Saturday, Irma is expected to dump four to ten inches of rainfall on eastern and central Cuba with isolated downpours of up to 15 inches.”

2) Speaking of hurricanes, Cigar Aficionado published an interesting feature yesterday about how Houston-area tobacconists are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The story includes several heartwarming anecdotes that demonstrate the charitable nature of the industry. “One of the more notable relief efforts from the cigar industry has come from Tabacalera USA, the premium cigar division of global tobacco giant Imperial Brands PLC. Together with ITG Brands, the Imperial-owned companies donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey-related assistance in Houston and other affected areas.” Additionally, the article goes on to point out a special project by Erik Espinosa of Espinosa Premium Cigars that donates 100% of proceeds to victims of the storm. “Espinosa is calling the cigar One Love, which comes in red, white, and blue packaging with an image of Texas and a heart covering the Houston area. The Nicaraguan cigars are sold exclusively through Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston and have raised $5,000 for hurricane relief.”

3) Inside the Industry: With all the hurricane talk, it is worth revisiting how RoMa Craft Tobac was founded in the aftermath of a hurricane nearly a decade ago. Back then, RoMa Craft co-founder Skip Martin was the owner of the Hava Cigar Shop in Galveston, Texas. In 2008, Hurricane Ike hit Galveston hard, and Skip’s shop was one of its casualties. While you never want to see a business destroyed by a natural disaster, there was an upside for cigar smokers: Skip shifted his focus from selling cigars to making cigars. The rest is history.

4) From the Archives: How many gadgets can manufacturers come up with to complicate the simple act of smoking? A lot, as we explored many not-so-essential contrivances and contraptions that have been pushed in the cigar world.

5) Deal of the Week: StogieGuys.com recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, shaving kits, wine, workout gear, coffee kits, and more) delivered for just $45. You can skip or purchase every month. Sign up here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Google

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