October 1, 2021
I am joined via Zoom by Andy Sweis, owner of Cedar Room Fine Cigars & Lounge in Scottsdale, AZ. We talk about how he got into the cigar industry and how it is a family affair for him and his brother. Andy talks about staying on the bleeding edge of boutique cigars and new releases. We talk about both the physical space and their online space and the challenges of competing in an online market. We find out how Andy sees his customers as family and how that translates into one of the best experiences I've had in a cigar lounge. We learn about their Cigar Text Club and how they are innovators in the industry!
Andy announces the Simply Stogies Sampler on both their website and via the Cigar Text Club! The Simply Stogies Casdagli Sampler - $90 value for $69.99 - add to cart and priority shipping will be included. You can join the Cigar Text Club and order the Simply Stogies Casdagli Sampler by texting keyword "stogies" to 1-833-855-6464
The sampler includes:
Grand Cafe Maduro
September 15, 2021
I sit down with Joe from Evil 3mpire Cigar 5ociety at Prime Cigars in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Joe and I have a great conversation that covers a wide array of topics. We get to know Joe and how he started his cigar journey before getting to know what the Evil 3mpire Cigar 5ociety is all about. Joe explains their focus on those in and around the cigar industry, how they got started, and what's next for the E3C5. Joe and I also discuss Instagram "influencers" and what it means to be an "influencer," the politics of the cigar industry, if we should be involved in those politics and how, and we talk about the cigar community. Joe also shares with us upcoming projects. It was a great conversation that I hope you enjoy as much as I did.
You can follow Evil 3mpire Cigar 5ociety on Instagram here.
September 1, 2021
While at the PCA 2021 Trade Show, I sit down with Dan from the Cigar Saver. The Cigar Saver is a product that, well, saves your cigar. When you find it necessary to step away from your lit cigar, the Cigar Saver allows you to quickly put it out, saving your cigar to be easily re-lit when you can come back to it. Dan walks us through the process of creating the new cigar accessory, some of the difficulties and challenges of getting it manufactured, and verifying the proof of concept. We discuss Dan's cigar journey and find out when they hope to launch this new product.
Visit the Cigar Saver website!
August 15, 2021
I sit down with Dean Parsons of Epic Cigars at the 2021 PCA Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dean and I discuss his journey from Canadian hockey player, to police officer, to real estate development, to finally finding his passion and starting Epic Cigars. Dean opens up about the industry and the amount of effort, time, and money it takes to become successful. We discuss the Epic core lines and how they are a reflection of the cigar industry. Dean talks about his newest cigar, the Epic Ten, teases a new cigar and a new project, and his relationship with Zander-Greg and Nat Cicco. We also touch on TPE and the importance of supporting the industry with the PCA and CRA.
Buy Epic Cigars from Oxford Cigar Company and get 10% off using code SimplyStogies
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.