The 2016 IPCPR is a wrap and I’m finally getting my legs back under me. After being sidetracked by the airline industry I finally made it to the Sands Expo Center, in Las Vegas, NV to see and meet those that keep the cigar industry fresh and relevant.
While there weren’t tons of new releases to report on, the coolest things I saw had more to do with old lines being resurrected and others being remixed. There will be several cigar evals and reviews upcoming, but for now I just want to give a brief recap of some of the things I learned and some of the products I personally think you should get excited about this fall.
There was an overwhelming theme of collaboration during this show. There are several releases this fall from companies that were either blended in concert with other manufacturers or just flat out blending by one for another. In industry, most would think that every man or woman is for themself, but in ours it is good to see the aisles being crossed and more of a focus on respect, quality tobacco and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Notable collaborations this year include:
Willy Herrera and Robert Caldwell – All Out Kings
AJ Fernandez & General Cigar – Hoyo de Monterrey La Amistad
AJ Fernandez & General Cigar – Foundry Time Flies
Crowned Heads & Ernesto Perez-Carrillo – La Caréme
Another highlight of IPCPR 2016 for me that was especially cool was meeting other Cigar Media members that bring education and news to consumers; namely Charlie Minato of Halfwheel, William Cooper of Cigar Coop, the crew from Smooth Draws Radio out of Atlanta, GA, the team from Cigar Time TV and Kenny Achille from Stogie TV.
Two of the most respectable companies in the industry invited me to join them for their very special events, the Ashton Cigars Dinner and the Golden Band Awards Dinner from Davidoff Cigars. Not only were the outings a chance to clean up and wear suits and tuxedos, but they were also a special time to honor those that are often overlooked in the industry, the brick and mortar retailers that are the lifeblood of the cigar world.
I was able to try some new products and see industry folks let their hair down, but most importantly the IPCPR served as a reset and as an educational eye-opener for me. The trade show motivated me to be more innovative and to find new ways to bring consumers and students of the industry more relevant and inclusive content about the cigar industry. I was also fortunate enough to sit in on meetings to see exactly how transactions are made with retailers and was witness to key relationships being formed between manufactures, execs, reps, media, etc.
I’m not exactly sure what the next few years will have in store for the industry we love, but the optimistic vibe I got from the cigar manufacturers left me with a positive feeling about what’s to come. With even more attendees this year than in the past, I felt confident that the business of cigars is not slowing down and there are no plans to stop being innovative.
Special thanks to the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) for organizing and bringing together the best of the best in the industry, Cigar Rights of America and their staff for making their presence felt at all of the events of the week, and for all of those in attendance that are passionate about premium cigars and the promotion of products and a lifestyle that brings people from all walks of life together. Thank you all for an amazing experience!