Factories reopen, move and more by Frank Seltzer

It is that time of year when the cigar factories begin reopening. You see each year they all close for the Christmas holiday. So no cigars are made between the middle of December and about now. One factory that is new, is the MATASA factory in the Dominican Republic. It’s grand opening was Monday.

5th Generation Quesadas celebrating new factory

5th Generation Quesadas celebrating new factory

MATASA, makers of Fonseca and Quesada, moved out of their old digs in the free trade zone in Santiago (as noted on my Dec 13th post) and now have opened the new factory outside Santiago. While it officially opened yesterday, the gala will be during Pro Cigar next month.

Crossed Travelers=New cigar

Ok I admit it, I am a mileage whore. American Airlines is running two promotions which end up giving you 3x elite qualifying miles. I usually hit somewhere between 60-75,000 miles without some “mileage runs to make certain I make 100k and Executive Platinum. Yeah it is a big deal. Well, yesterday I flew from DFW to SFO and back. While checking into the Admirals Club in San Fran, I look to my left and say Brian? It was Brian Chinook of Chinook Cellars Wine and Cigars. We have known each other from Pro Cigar and the IPCPR trade show. He was headed out to Raleigh for both his wine and cigars. While we were talking he gave me one of his newest cigars…the Terroir corona. He had launched the line at last year’s IPCPR but the corona is new…probably debuting in March. It is made at El Titan De Bronze in Miami and uses Dominican seco, Nicaraguan viso and two Nicaraguan volado leaves for the binder. The wrapper is Sun Grown Ecuadorian Cubano seed.

A light in the Darkness

While there is still a lot of work to do in fighting the smoking bans, there is a positive trend over in London. It seems that the old cigar rooms which once populated most of the city ( can you picture Winston Churchill without his cigar?) are making a comeback. But with a twist which is a good sign.

According to the Daily Mail, since smoking was banned in England in 2007, cigar rooms went the way of the dodo bird. Extinct. A pity because there were some terrific places in London hotels where a cigar could be enjoyed along with a wonderful selection of spirits. Well, apparently guests of the hotels have not stopped asking where they can enjoy a quiet smoke. You have to smoke outside now, but the hotels are coming up with ways around it. The rule says 50% of the place has to be open and the hotels are figuring out ways to make the the new cigar divans legal. But instead of doing them up in the old woods and leather aimed at men, the new lounges are being aimed at women. You can now light up at the Lanesborough, the Langham and the May Fair hotels and soon at the Bulgari Hotel. According to the article:

“The renewed popularity of cigar smoking, traditionally associated with older men, has been partly driven by younger enthusiasts and a growing number of women.”

In fact, one hotel hosts women-only cigar smoking evenings. Let’s hope this continues.


In Savannah, Georgia, the county council has given us a victory of sorts. By a vote of 5-4, the council removed prIvate clubs, tobacco shops and bars that only allow people 21 and older from the proposed smoking ban.

“Democrat Harris Odell, a staunch proponent of local wellness initiatives who chairs the county health board, joined Kicklighter, his Republican counterpart and outspoken critic of “nanny government,” in approving the exemptions.

“I believe in individual choice,” Odell said later.”

Score one for the good guys.

First they came for our cigars

But with the good comes the ominous. The CDC now says that one in six Americans binge drink. The CDC (much like other nannys) say this is a big problem. Look for the government to spend more money studying it and look for more laws regulating it.

Now if you are like me, you probably think of binge drinking as getting blotto. Nope, that is not the definition. This crap began in Australia, of all places, in 2008 when the government decided that binge drinking meant having three glasses of wine at dinner. Really? Yeah, that is troubling. The Australian government, which knows what is good for you, decided no one should have more than two drinks a day.

Now the CDC is doing much the same, except it says women should only have one a day. The CDC defines binge drinking as having 5 drinks in a short period of time…it does not designate the “short period of time”. If it is like in 20 minutes, yeah sure…but if it is an evening out…not so much. (By the way one glass of wine counts as 1.5 drinks)

I find it funny that the report says drinking too much contributes to sexually-transmitted diseases. Wonder why? Hah.

But the writing is on the wall about this. Nanny Bloomberg has alcohol in his sites and expect others to do the same.

According the the NY Post, Bloomberg wants to cut the number of places New Yorkers can get the evil booze and possibly ban advertising. (First Amendment bye bye in Bloomberg land.) Now this is “just a proposal” and according to the U.K. Daily Mail, Bloomberg has backed off. (Wanna bet?)

Cigar and the Senate

J.C. Newman, makers of Cuesta Rey among others, took a step this past week when they invited Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell to Tampa to meet with cigar industry representatives and retailers. The meeting was a round-table with 48 cigar companies participating. They talked about the bills pending in Congress to help protect our beloved cigars from FDA control. You can bet McConnell got an earful.

This is serious stuff and everyone needs to be involved. You can contact your Senator and Representative via the CRA website. Please do it today.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!