A brand new year...same dysfunctional Cretins. That could only mean Blowin' Smoke #172!
With new year resolutions already a failed distant memory, the first podcast herf of 2013 featured a Mystery Cigar of the Day to stimulate the otherwise hibernating Cretin neurons. Add to that some fresh baked maple-bacon donuts and coffee with chicory, and the Cretins could hardly contain themselves.
We talked about how we will focus on new cigars in the new year, cigars that can cut through a cold or flu, and how a couple of our "Cretin'ettes" answer questions previously asked to a swimsuit model. Plus, a fresh look at what the chicks are reading, and a new 5 Things for your new year water cooler chatter.
All that and more is straight ahead. So, grab some smokes and join the herf. It's Blowin' Smoke #172!
With icicles on their ashes, and a mystery in their hands, the Cretins gathered for Blowin' Smoke #173
Indeed the heaters were crankin' in the Havana Room for this herf. For the second time in as many shows, the Cretins were faced with a mystery Cigar of the Day. What was it? What did they think? Listen to find out.
Plus, we talked to one of our good friends and fellow BOTL, Lawrence (@_LOD), from down around the nation's capital about the upcoming 2nd annual D.C. Cigar Tweet-Up (@DCCigarTweetup). It sounds like an awesome 2-day herf experience shaping up. Check it out.
The Cretins also struggled a little with who to root for in the Super Bowl this year, and they talked about a beer honoring Elvis, women hogging the covers, Cretin Jeff learning how to drive a truck, women that go under the knife down under, and much more. Also another look at what the chicks are reading, and a new 5 Things.
So, dress in layers and join the herf! It's Blowin' Smoke #173!
I am very happy that Fred Rewey, AKA "GodFadr," of Nomad Cigar Company was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule to be the focus of our new "Quick 6."
…and away we go.
#1 - In the beginning… Where did the GodFadr, Fred Rewey, come from to get to cigar brand owner?
FR: Like your typical cigar manufacturer, I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The state provides a rich tobacco heritage...oh, wait, that will never work. Although I was born in the great cheese state, I have lived in numerous locations that could only be rivaled by a Phish roadie.
Seriously though, I have lived all over (both nationally and internationally) and have several friends that are great cigar makers. They certainly influenced me in deciding to go into the industry. I have always tried to turn my hobbies into a business - I believe you need to love what you do. Cigar making seemed a natural evolution to taking a passion and trying to turn it into something bigger by pushing myself. In the end, it's the true story of a passionate cigar aficionado trying his hand at long-standing art.
#2 - Nomad Cigar Company hit the scene in 2012. Describe the journey from concept to making your first sale.
FR: It probably took two years to find a cigar/blend/style etc that worked for me. Frankly, the cigar world is full of great cigars. There are a lot to choose from and at some pretty amazing prices. Starting up a new company is not easy.
Most startups have to compromise tobacco quality to stay competitive - I was not willing to do that. In turn, that meant holding out for better tobacco and getting very aggressive on pricing (can you say "profits?"). I was in it for the long haul, so I was not really concerned with the latter. Deliver a quality stick and maybe you can make your mark.
The sales were very "grass roots" at first. People heard about my first stick (The Fugitive) and starting seeking me out. It didn't even have the bands on yet. When some pretty prominent people in the industry wanted them in their personal humidors, I knew I was on to something.
#3 - Your website, NomadCigarCompany.com shows five cigars currently in your arsenal. Tell us about them. Are they different sizes of the same blend or is each size a unique blend?
FR: There are actually seven now (I am releasing two new sizes this month). Each cigar is predominately the same blend. There are always some slight modifications in percentages to accommodate for size. Each has the signature Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper (no one says "2000" anymore, but I think it is still worthy of its full name). The Binder is Dominican and the Filler is largely Dominican with a bit of Nicaraguan ligero to push the medium up a bit.
The two new sizes are a traditional Robusto (5x50) and a 6" Figurado.
#4 - You recently partnered with Emilio Cigars to handle your distribution. I assume, being a small boutique company, that that will allow you to focus more on future plans and new product development. What is in the pipeline for Nomad Cigars in 2013?
FR: The partnership will help Nomad keep up with demand and allow me to focus on new products, quality control, and cover marketing of the brand. We get requests every day from people wanting to try (or get more of) the sticks. I know it is a good problem to have, but I really want to take advantage of the explosive press we received so fast. We have great reviews, numerous top 10's, and some great recognition for some key players very high in the industry. That is all very flattering, but if you can't get the stick in enough hands, it is all for nothing to some extent. Gary brings that needed distribution to the table and probably cuts 2-3 years off Nomad's growth.
I believe, at this pace, 2013 will be the true "coming out party" for Nomad...2-4 new sizes and possibly a whole new blend addition.
#5 - You have voiced very strong opinions about supporting local brick and mortar tobacconists, but online sales are a big piece of the pie too. Share those opinions with us and how Nomad Cigar Company is focused going and growing forward.
FR: I am a big supporter of brick and mortar shops. I think, in a lot of ways, they are really the heart of the industry. Some manufacturers forget that. That said, I think the guy that is nowhere near a brick and mortar need not be forgotten.
I really don't have a problem with "online" or even "catalog" sales - as long as the brick and mortar stores have the ability to stay competitive. Some online places (or catalogs) are able to sell cigars at lower prices than even the brick and mortars can buy them - that is not right - and the manufacturer can help avoid that.
My decision, for Nomad Cigar Company, was to not sell directly from my company website. In the short term, that can really hurt a boutique start-up. You need traction to get into shops, but if you don't sell direct, how do you get traction? I suppose I pulled the plug a bit early on principal - but numerous retailers (and some makers) applauded the stance from a little guy. I would still allow Nomads (and want someone) online to sell them to people in remote locations - I just don't want to hurt all the shops working hard just to get a quick online or catalog buck.
#6 - Celebrity endorsements and strategic product placement in major media and entertainment can mean big things for a company like Nomad Cigars. Given the choice, where would you rather see Nomad Cigars prominently placed: "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" -- "Finding Bigfoot" -- or "Duck Dynasty" and why?
FR: Embarrassingly enough, I had to look two of the three up online. After watching one full episode of each (ok, I never made it through Honey Boo Boo), I would have to go with "Duck Dynasty." Love the beards and these guys look like they could be a lot of fun. Nomad Cigar Company, at the core, has always been about having fun. Sure, create a quality stick, but have fun in the process. (No, I didn't really mail a live kitten.) I think we take ourselves too seriously sometimes. The cigar world is rich in heritage, heart, and passion - but at the end of the day, we smoke for a momentary reflection on life in general, have fun with friends, or solve the worlds problems. Oftentimes all during the same cigar outing.