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).