21 Oct 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) Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) visited the J.C. Newman Cigar Co. headquarters in Tampa on Wednesday to express contempt for FDA regulations on premium cigars and garner “news coverage… in a major media market along the Interstate 4 corridor as he’s locked in a contentious election against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Jupiter Democrat,” reports the Tampa Bay Times. “This is a law that was passed to keep cigarettes and harmful tobacco products out of the hands of young people and children, and I don’t think any of us disagree with that. Anybody who knows about the premium cigar industry knows it’s not an industry that targets or is consumed by young Americans,” he told reporters. “The end result and the worst-case scenario is about half the people working here in Tampa will lose their jobs at some point, maybe more, because all they’re going to be able to sell is the things they were making before 2007.” Both Rubio and Murphy support congressional efforts to exempt premium cigars from harmful FDA oversight.
2) A little more than three years after launching Fratello Cigars, owner Omar de Frias has decided to leave his decade-plus career at NASA to focus full-time on his cigar operation. “I set an aggressive goal for myself at [this summer’s industry trade show]. I exceeded that goal. Given the enormous support I received and increasing demand for Fratello, this was the time to give the cigar industry the extra 50 hours a week I was spending on our nation’s space program,” said de Frais in a press release. “Although it is a tumultuous time for our industry, I have confidence in the staying power of my brand and the relationships I have worked so hard to build with our retailers and consumers.” Fratello Cigars can now be found in over 350 tobacconists in the U.S. and in 7 countries.
3) To regular StogieGuys.com readers, the FDA’s anticipated impacts on the premium cigar industry are as well-documented as they are frightening. Yet the American craft beer industry—now 2,300 craft breweries strong—is also reeling under pressure from the cumbersome bureaucracy. A new book from lawyer Baylen J. Linnekin entitled Biting the Hands That Feed Us, and highlighted in Men’s Journal, details “the unforeseen consequences of FDA rules and regulations that… can put unnecessary pressure on artisanal food producers and encourage waste in the system that gets food from the farm to you.” Of particular interest is “a proposed rule… for how brewers handle the byproducts of making beer that just about everyone in the industry found absurd and business-killing costly.” Read about it here.
4) Inside the Industry: Although technically introduced at the IPCPR Trade Show this summer, Miami Cigar & Co. formally announced the national distribution of the Nestor Miranda Collection Corojo this week. The new blend comes in four sizes with suggested retail prices ranging from $7.50 to $9.50. The blend joins the Connecticut, Habano, and Maduro blends in the Nestor Miranda Collection.
5) From the Archives: With last week’s news that Americans traveling abroad can finally import Cuban cigars for personal consumption, now is a good time to revisit this 2008 commentary: Is the Cuban Cigar Hype Justified? Conclusion: “Make no mistake about it, Castro’s oppressed island nation produces some fine stogies, from the Partagas Serie D No. 4 and the RyJ Short Churchill to the Cohiba Siglo VI and the Monte Petit Edmundo… I personally question whether all the Cuban cigar hype—and the excessive prices that come with black market goods—is justified. I think many of us give sub-par Cubans a pass simply because we’re not supposed to smoke them. The forbidden factor unquestionably makes them more attractive.”
6) Deal of the Week: The Liga Privada Dirty Rat is a very sought-after and hard-to-find limited edition smoke. Currently, it is in stock here (4-packs are $58 and boxes of 12 are $157), but move quickly. Buy the box, or any order over $75, and get a free triple-flame table lighter by adding the coupon code “StogieDeal” at checkout.
photo credit: Flickr