Newcomer to the industry and the IPCPR 2017 trade show, Al Micallef really set out to make a splash with an expansive booth for his eponymous Micallef Cigar company. To start off the interview, Al tells us how he met his partners, the Gomez Sanchez Family about a year ago. He was so impressed with the Cuban-esque cigars they made for him, he wound up buying a controlling stake the company. They’ve been making cigars since 1934, but lacked the capital they needed to properly promote their blends. He was ready to change that.
The Micallef blends run the gamut, mild to full body. On the milder end: Reata and Torcedores. In the medium-to-full range: Experiencia, Palacios, Herencia, Reserva Limitada Privada and Gomez Sanchez 1RA Generacion Leyenda 2. Finally on the full-bodied end, the Gomez Sanchez 1RA Generacion Leyenda 1. Similarly, there is a broad spectrum in pricing. The Micallef Torcedores retail for $8.50, while the Reserva Limitada Privada retails for $42. The majority of the cigars between are in the teens. Al tells us the Micallef Experiencia (MSRP $13) is the best selling cigar in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where the company launched.
For a young company, Micallef has a pretty impressive presence both in the U.S. and around the world. Al mentions that they their cigars are sold all along the east coast (and Texas of course), and have distribution in Germany, Spain, parts of Central America, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In what has to be one of the most interesting deal I’ve ever seen at the trade show, potential Micallef customers were given an opportunity to have a promotional video professionally recorded for their shop. In an unexpected turn of events, they interviewed me after I interviewed Al. (See the second video below.)
As new as Micallef is to the industry, I had to bring up the elephant in the room. Al says he’s pretty politically active, and thinks he knows what’s going to happen with the FDA. Like others I had spoken to, he was pretty optimistic. It probably helps that he has a legal department that’s been working on preparing their thirteen lines of cigars for whatever comes.
And here’s Jamie Knight from The Bryan Blue Show interviewing me in the Micallef booth. (Sure, they did misspell Stogie Review, but it gave me a great idea for a sandwich review blog.)