Jim Cronin and the Guys from Top Shelf Cigar Company with Jose Blanco for a La Aurora Event
From time to time we get an email from a curious reader looking for information on an event happening at his or her local cigar shop. Often times these people have never attended an event and they simply want to get a general idea of what they can expect when they arrive.
The purpose of todays little article is give you some insight on what goes on at your typical event. In addition to the standard event, I’ll also touch on specialty events which won’t always revolve around one particular brand of cigar.
Manufacturer Events are what make up the vast majority of events. Basically, this event is put on by your local shop with the intention of promoting one particular brand for the evening. Most times you will find that these events have someone from the featured brand there to represent the product. If the event is large enough, in addition to the regional sales rep, you may also find the figure head of the company (For example you may meet Rocky Patel, Jose Oliva, Pete Johnson, etc…)
Unfortunately, the cigar industry as a whole seems to run the same special time after time. There is very little deviation from the “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” or “Buy a Box and Get Free Swag” deals. From time to time you may see a spark of originality, but I wouldn’t count on it under normal circumstances.
Most of these types of events have some simple food and drink available free to customers. The food can be a variety of things but Pizza or six-foot Hogies cut into sections are commonly found here in Pennsylvania. On the beverage front, many times soda, water, and coffee are on the house. Some shops even provide a couple of bottles of wine, a bottle or two of harder alcohol, and a couple of cases of beer.
The most common question about these events revolves are the purchase of featured cigars. People often times want to know of it is considered bad form to purchase anything outside of the featured brand. Personally, when I attend these types of events, the bulk of my purchase is made up of the featured brand. In the event that I do not care for the brand being featured, I generally skip attending the event rather than appearing to buy another line. This outlook is a completely personal one and no one, besides yourself, can tell you what you should spend your money on.
Specialty Events, to me, are events that do not revolve around a brand of cigar. They can be an event put on to promote local business in the area, they can be to celebrate the shops anniversary, they could be nothing more than a set time for the guys to get together and play cards, or any other number of things.
These events do not typically have a cookie cutter model for specials. The deal could be “Buy 3 Get 1 Free”, it could be a set percentage off all purchases, or it could be nothing at all. These types of events are the ones that I prefer going to because they focus more on the atmosphere and less on the representative trying to sell you on a line of cigars.
Just like manufacturer events, chances are good that there will be free food and drink available for you. In additional to free food and drink, often times there will be some sort of raffle going on to give away product or gift certificates.
Regardless if you are attending a Manufacturer Event or a Specialty Event, you can expect to find a crowd of like-minded individuals smoking cigars and having a good time. If you have never been to an event, I would highly suggest supporting your local cigar shop and checking one out some time.
I have yet to attend an event which did not feel inviting. Even if you are a quiet individual, such as myself, it is easy to get drawn into the cloud of cigar smoke and talking about the topic at hand. With such a wide variety of people attending these events, you are sure to bump into someone that is in a similar industry or is into the same hobbies (outside of cigars, of course).
13 thoughts on “What Happens at Cigar Events?”
Last event was the Tatuaje Event last May.
I attended a Liga Privada event at Empire Cigars. Pretty awesome event. Picked up #9’s and T52’s with a flying pig for good measure.
My last event was the CAO event down at the Humidour in Maryland 🙂 CAO rep was very nice and outgoing!!
I bought some CAO product, but I also bought other things. I dont think you have to buy just the manufacturers product being promoted, but why go to an event if you dont like the product?
My last event was the Ashton Taste of Excellence. I’ve been to two of them, one for San Cristobal, and one for LADC EE. Both were excellent.
Drac event here in NY.
The last cigar store event I attended was a Liga Privada T52 release event at the Wooden Indian in Havertown, PA. The specials were as described above, buy 4, get one, samplers with boxes, etc. We had a great time talking to Marvin Samel and his staff, as well as some of the store regulars. I recently attended a cigar event in Reno which was just a bunch of guys getting together to smoke cigars and hang out. This event is organized every year by an old friend who I met on alt.smokers.cigars usenet group 13 years ago. I guess it would be considered a private event, although everyone is welcome. Walt is right, either a store event or a private herf, you are almost always going to be among friends, whether you have met them them before or not.
“This outlook is a completely personal one and no one, besides yourself, can tell you what you should spend your money on.”
Has your wife read that sentence? heh heh
Good info Walt.
The last event I attended was at Maxamar’s in Orange, CA with Partagas. Benji Menendez was there featuring his new Benji Menendez special blend. This was the day after his event in LA. He was there to sign boxes and talk. He is a man with a wealth of information!
Just this afternoon I was at an event at The Outlaw Cigar Co. in Kansas City held for Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and his new solo stick. 200 lb. roast pig, hot dogs, snacks, micro-brew beer and good times!
I’ve gone to two cigar events in my area now, and I’d have to say unless you know the people who hang out at the shop already, bring a friend. Otherwise, you may end up sitting by yourself for hours with no one to talk to. I guess this is okay if you like to watch sports and be left alone while you smoke, but for me it was just weird. I was having flashbacks to high school awkwardness. ::shudders::
Anyway, I did eventually find people to talk to, mainly because I would start up the conversations myself. I’m a good BS-er, so I was able to fake my way through a little golf and sports talk. (My proudest moment: “I don’t watch a lot of pro basketball, it’s just gotten too commercial. I prefer college ball.”) LOL
So for me, I spend about half of my time at the event wondering why I came at all instead of sitting by myself outside a coffee shop. But I think these events would be really fun if you have a buddy, so if you find yourself isolated socially, you can regroup with your friend for a while.
I attended a Perdomo event held by my local B&M, Pops Cigars, at Bailey’s Pub in Newport News, VA. Nice event for sure with plenty of food. They had the standard “buy 3 get 1 free” promotion so I picked up a Perdomo Patriarch (Lonsdale) that I enjoyed while I hung around. I would also recommend a bringing a friend to these……would definitely add to the enjoyment.
I think the Ashton folks do a great job throwing events. They’ll usually have a decent deal, they’re very engaging, and they’ll bring some nice bottles of booze with them. Last time I went to one of their shindigs, the guy brought several bottles of Johnny Walker Green label, which isn’t bad at all.