August 1, 2021
I sit down at the Recluse Cigars/Iconic Leaf Cigar Company booth on the PCA Trade Show floor with owner and blender Scott Weeks. Scott and I talk about his and his family's background in the cigar industry and how he started Recluse Cigars and Iconic Cigar Leaf Company. We talk about federal regulations and how Scott navigates that. Scott discusses the pros of being a small cigar manufacturer versus a larger manufacturer and his approach to blending. Scott highlights Recluse's intubar/intubado rolling technique, its advantages, and its drawbacks.
Visit Iconic Cigar Leaf Company's website to find a retailer.
July 15, 2021
I talk, via Zoom, with Nick Syris of LH Cigars. We discuss his journey from an audio business to his life as a retailer and how he eventually started LH Cigars. Nick talks about what he's learned and where LH Cigars is going in the future. We discuss the cigar industry, what it means to be boutique, how the global pandemic spurred cigar sales, and Nick's thoughts on trade shows in a post COVID-19 world. Nick briefly discusses his time in Cuba and what it means to be a true Master Blender.
July 12, 2021
James and Lucas, owner of Oxford Cigar Co., discuss the 2021 PCA Trade Show LIVE from the show floor. Lucas is open and transparent with what he sees as good and bad about this year's trade show. The pair discuss how things could be better, fi the PCA will survive, if TPE is good for the premium cigar industry, and why Oxford Cigar Co. does what's best for their customers.
July 1, 2021
I am joined, via telephone, with Instagram influencer, entrepreneur, and representative of Karen Berger Cigars, Anya Ramirez. We talk about her journey into the world of cigars and how it's a lifestyle for her and not just a hobby. We discuss how she came to be a rep for Karen Berger Cigars and some of the things she's seen in the industry. I ask her about women in the hobby and how smaller B&Ms can better cater to this growing demographic. Anya opens up about her experience starting a new cigar brand, how some in the industry treat women, and how she uses her platform on Instagram to influence others. You do not want to miss this episode!
Follow Anya on Instagram here.
June 15, 2021
I sit down with Giannis Koutsoupias, the Director of Business Development for the Vintage Whiskey and Cigar Bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the patio at the Vintage. We talk about Giannis' cigar journey, the lessons learned from his time in the restaurant and hospitality sector, the friends he made in the cigar industry, and his shared vision for the Vintage with Dan the owner. Giannis and I discuss how they curated their humidor, the blending process for the house stick (made by Nick Syris of LH Premium Cigars), and the relationships that he has made.
When you're in the Charlotte area, the Vintage Whiskey and Cigar Bar is the place to visit, at 215 E Worthington Ave, Charlotte, NC 28203. They have a wide range of whiskeys, scotch, wine, port, and a great cup of coffee. The staff is friendly and extremely knowledgeable, and they have a great space in a wonderful neighborhood. Tell 'em Simply Stogies sent you!
June 1, 2021
James travels to sunny Orlando, Florida to have a conversation with Lucas Da Silva of Oxford Cigar Company. The pair sit outside next to large fans and a train station to discuss how Oxford Cigar Company does business, how they treat their customers, and their vision for the cigar industry. We also cover the PCA, the state of the cigar industry, some of the craziest things Lucas has seen, and the future of cigars. This is a great conversation that you're sure to enjoy.
Visit Oxford Cigar Company and give them a shot. You won't be disappointed.
May 15, 2021
I travel to sunny Orlando, Florida to chat live and in person with Jeremy and Donovan from Deep South Cigars. The three of us have a candid conversation about everything from politics, southern culture, diversity, family, cigars, self-promotion, the future, dating, starting your own business, and demystifying the cigar industry. This was a great conversation with a couple of real, down to earth, and generous BotLs that took time out of their schedule to sit down and have as open a chat as you'll find in the industry. You do not want to miss this.
Visit Deep South Cigars
Purchase the 770 BBC from Deep South Cigars and more here!
May 1, 2021
I visit Capital Cigar Lounge in Lincoln, Nebraska to sit down and talk with Jeff Gaston. Jeff is the owner and founder of GSTN Cigar, who makes quality wood ashtrays for every budget and every need. Jeff and I discuss how he started his cigar journey and what led him to start GSTN Cigar. We talk about his process of making ashtrays, what inspires him, his inventory, and how long it takes him to ship out an order. We also dive into Jeff's background as a content creator, the podcasting process, and so much more. It was a great time getting to meet Jeff and spend some time with him.
Jeff is also GIVING AWAY a custom engraved Wade \/s Evans ashtray to one lucky listener! Just go to Episode 53: A Conversation with GSTN Cigar and leave a comment on the episode's page between May 1 and June 15, 2021 and you'll be automatically entered to win. Winner will be announced on the July 1 episode of Simply Stogies Podcast.
Go to GSTN Cigar and use code SImplystogies for a 15% discount off of everything in his store!!
April 15, 2021
This episode I chat with Evan, the founder of The Blend Newsletter, via Zoom and we discuss his cigar journey, how he fell in love with cigars, how the global pandemic helped him find his passion for the leaf, and how he curates the newsletter each week. We end up talking about what it's like being a content creator in the cigar industry, the time it takes to create content, how it affects our personal lives, and the relationships we've made along the way. It was a great conversation that I hope you enjoy as much as I did.
To sign up for The Blend please click here.
If you'd like to find out more about Smoked, the cigar-centric event hosted by The Blend, or to buy your tickets, please click here.
April 1, 2021
I visit the Drawing Room QC and chats with two of the owners, Eric Norton and Shale Sage. The trio discuss the cigar community and rich cigar history in Davenport, Iowa, the cigar industry, how cigar manufacturers sell cigars to B&Ms, and how Eric and Shale started their cigar journeys. They also discuss opening a cigar lounge during a pandemic, how they train their staff, and so much more.
Visit the Drawing Room on their Facebook Page.