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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Cigar Groups File Motions for FDA Relief, RoMa Craft to Launch Online Store for Branded Merch, and More

6 Oct 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 550th in the series.

1) On Tuesday, the cigar industry filed motions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (above) pursuing relief from upcoming FDA regulations. The motions—one a motion for preliminary injunction, the other a motion for partial summary judgment—were filed jointly by Cigar Rights of America, the Cigar Association of America, and the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. At issue are expensive user fees and obtrusive warning labels. The FDA has until October 24 to respond. As reported by Cigar Aficionado, “while many aspects to the FDA regulations on cigars have been pushed back, the ones calling for extensive warning labels—labels that cover 30 percent of a cigar box, and 20 percent of an advertisement—have not. They are scheduled to take effect roughly ten months from today.” As for the user fees: “Since October 2016, cigar manufacturers and importers, in accordance with the FDA’s controversial Final Deeming Rule, have been required to submit federal excise tax information to the FDA on a monthly basis. The FDA, in turn, analyzes this data to calculate user fees for cigar companies, which are paid on a quarterly basis. Cigar companies pay the user fees directly to the FDA, and those payments are the sole source of funding for the Center of Tobacco Products, the branch of the FDA responsible for carrying out tobacco regulation activities.”

2) Skip Martin of RoMa Craft Tobac took to Facebook on Wednesday to announce the impending re-launch of the company’s website, which will feature an online store for direct-to-consumer sales of branded merchandise, including Xikar accessories. Evidently, an unnamed “gossipy, jealous, busy body little hater” had spread a rumor that RoMa would begin selling its cigars via the new website. Martin made abundantly clear this is not the case. He went on to write: “To our haters, you really don’t have to try so hard. Just focus on making better cigars, more consistently, and selling them at a fair price. Ain’t nobody got time for all the petty drama.”

3) Members of Tatuaje’s private Saints & Sinners club received an email update on Tuesday regarding the status of the 2017 membership kits. “Due to the hurricane, our delivery of the cigar kits has been delayed and is expected to arrive late next week. We have been getting everything prepped and ready to ship as soon as they arrive but are still anticipating these to be arriving to you all right around Halloween.” Saints & Sinners is an invitation-only club that annually sends its members exclusive Tatuaje cigars along with Tatuaje-branded merchandise like wine openers, poker chips, lighters, cutters, and apparel.

4) Inside the Industry: Rafael Nodal, owner of Boutique Blends Cigars, has been named head of product capability at Tabacalera USA, a new role that places him in charge of Tabacalera’s premium cigar business, which includes Altadis USA’s premium cigars. Steve Saka’s Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust has hired its first full-time team member, Yvonne Ramée, who will be working out of the Dunbarton office/warehouse in New Hampshire.

5) From the Archives: Speaking of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, in 2015, back when Saka was preparing the first shipment of his inaugural Sobermesa line, caught up with him at a cigar shop in New Hampshire. Read the whole interview here.

6) Deal of the Week: For today only, here are 100 deals, including cigars from Ashton, Oliva, CAO, My Father, Tatuaje, Rocky Patel, Davidoff, Perdomo, Padrón, Drew Estate, and more. Free shipping is included on any purchase. If you really want to stock up, add promo code “GBP20D” at checkout to knock $20 off an order of $150 or more.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Google Maps

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