It was a challenge carving out a little time to speak to Robert Holt of Southern Draw at IPCPR 2017. His uniquely cozy patio-like booth was always full of people either doing business or relaxing. Probably a little of both. We start our chat with the Jacob’s Ladder, Southern Draw’s new double maduro, double ligero blend and the second release of the Rose of Sharon, their mild-to-medium blend. Speaking about the Jacob’s Ladder, Robert tells us that what they were missing from their portfolio was a full-bodied, full-flavored powerhouse that he envisioned smoking with friends with a rack of ribs on the grill. In addition to the Robusto (5 x 54), Toro (6 x 52), Gordo (6 1/2 x 60) sizes which were released at the show, a Lancero (6 1/2 x 40) is coming in Spring 2018. As of the time of this writing, a Lancero size of the Rose of Sharon line should be in stores soon.
Robert also stresses the importance of their packaging updates, which includes more colorful boxes and upgraded cigar bands, as the big news for them this year.
We also talk about the impact of FDA considerations on Southern Draw. As you might guess, it means a lot of time and money spent. Robert assures us Southern Draw is as prepared as they can be for whatever happens, nothing on the market right now will disappear if they have to go through the testing process. But some plans for the future will likely change.