12 Aug 2016
As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. Below is our latest Friday Sampler.
1) The Food and Drug Administration’s cigar regulations officially took effect on Monday. While the full impact of the rules will take years to see, several notable cigar makers voiced their perspectives this week, including Skip Martin of RoMa Craft Tobac: “…We are, at this time, unable to determine exactly what the consequences of this regulation will be on our industry, on our businesses, and on our passion for premium cigars,” he opined on Facebook. “Most of what you read is worst-case scenario. The reality is likely more positive… It is my personal observation that the misinformation and hyperbole has created an environment of fear and negativity that is counter-productive and detrimental to our business.” Meanwhile, Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends Cigars sent around an email to update his “friends, retailers, and associates” about his company’s approach: “As a company, we have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars preparing for this, and since we have navigated the regulatory maze before [Nodal comes from the healthcare industry], we know it is not going to be easy, but we also know that with detailed preparation, detailed documentation, implementation of strict protocols, and continued updates of our policies and procedures, we can survive. Until now, the FDA preparation has been done by our core staff. We are now staffing regulatory personnel to coordinate compliance with our outside consultants, suppliers, as well as our attorneys.” Finally, Fred Rewey of the Nomad Cigar Company had this to say: “…Although the immediate ramifications to the consumer seem light, the process has started behind the scenes, and it is an ugly battle… I am proud of the reputation of both the brand and me personally. No B.S. Don’t cut corners and try and make the best cigars you can. That said, all is not doom and gloom. I plan on staying. Whether I continue to go it alone, or partner with someone else, I am just not sure. I am open to the mechanics, but not open to sacrificing one thing that you have grown to expect out of Nomad.”
2) Seemingly in an effort to capitalize on the Pokémon Go craze, Gurkha is organizing a cigar scavenger hunt in Miami on Saturday, September 10. Pre-registration is required but free. The event will start at Village Humidor and take participants to several cigar locales throughout the city, culminating in an award ceremony where the winner will receive one of box of cigars each month for one year.
3) Inside the Industry: While many cigar companies significantly increased their announcement of new cigars at this year’s IPCPR Trade Show in light of the FDA, General Cigar’s debuts, while numerous, were in line with the number of new releases the outfit had featured at previous shows. Among the highlights were CAO Consigliere, a return of the original CAO Sopranos blend at a slightly lower price point now that the licensing agreement with The Sopranos has ended. Another interesting debut was the Hoyo La Amistad, produced in partnership with A.J. Fernandez, who makes the cigar in Nicaragua with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and binder from his Nicaraguan farms. Also new from General Cigar are two La Gloria Maduro offerings: La Gloria Cubana Serie R Estelí Maduro, which features a Broadleaf wrapper, and La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro, which is an internet and catalog exclusive.
4) From the Archives: It’s hard to believe, but it has been over eight years since the launch of Cigar Rights of America. At the time, the organization’s stated goals were to “fight unjustified tax increases and halt smoking bans.” As became necessary, however, on the federal level much of CRA’s attention quickly turned to the FDA regulations that were authorized by Congress only weeks after the organization’s establishment.
5) Deal of the Week: Every cigar smoker has good reason to join Cigar Rights of America, or renew/extend their current membership. If you want to smoke excellent, exclusive cigars while you do so, consider purchasing this Cigar Rights of America Limited Edition Sampler. Each sampler includes a CRA membership (you can also use it to renew your existing membership) with ten exclusive, high-end cigars. As a bonus, use the code “Stogie10” to save $10 (knocking the price down to $90).
photo credit: Stogie Guys