On Saturday, July 27, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., stogy connoisseurs gathered for the Cigar Social at Studio Square NYC to enjoy premium whiskey tastings, cigars custom-made by Rocky Patel, unlimited barbecue, and live entertainment. I had tickets to go, but alas fate had other plans that day.
Studio Sq. has recently become one of the hottest venues in New York City for cigar smokers. Starting last Summer, they’ve hosted some of the most massive cigar events in NYC. Probably the best part of having Studio Sq. in service of the NYC cigar community is that management there has brought an incredible knowledge of cigars, whiskey, and entertainment, as well as an impressive list of connections together to create some amazing events.
Here are some photos from the recent Cigar Social. Don’t miss out on their future events! Follow Studio Sq on Twitter or sign up for the FineTobaccoNYC event mailing list for cigar event invites.
NEW YORK CITY, August 1st 2013—Anwar Elboustani experienced what he calls “love at first smoke” while stationed in Iraq as a translator in the U.S. Navy. In early 2013, nearly ten years later, Elboustani founded El Cedro Cigars, a new boutique brand inspired by the men and women of America’s armed services. Today, the company is proud to unveil its initial offerings to the American market.
El Cedro, or “The Cedar,” refers to the ancient Mediterranean cedar trees which dot the mountains of Lebanon, some of which date back nearly 2000 years. “I chose the cedar tree because to me it embodies eternity,” Elboustani said. “I want ‘The Cedar’ to memorialize those who have fallen for the freedom that every American enjoys.”
El Cedro cigars are produced by the Kelner Boutique Factory in the Dominican Republic. The new cigars utilize a Dominican wrapper and binder. The filler contains a special blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan ligero tobaccos to deliver a taste that is at once thoroughly Dominican but that also delivers a unique kick of strength and flavor.
“For my initial offering, I wanted to offer a cigar that would be enjoyable to the novice and veteran smoker alike,” Elboustani said.
The cigars will be showcased in two sizes: Robusto at 5 ½ x 50 and Corona Gorda 5 ½ x 46. Boxes of the Robusto size will be offered in 18-count boxes, while boxes of the Corona Gorda will be offered in 20-count boxes. El Cedro cigars are available at a suggested retail price of $7 for the Corona Gorda size and $8 for the Robusto size.
Elboustani plans to host several release events throughout New York City in August and September. Like and Follow El Cedro Cigars on Facebook and Twitter to receive event invitations.
Everyone knows IPCPR is one of the largest cigar events of the year in the United States. Thousands of cigar brands, retailers, bloggers, and other enthusiasts descend to smoke and purchase the newest blends from the hottest brands. Any high-energy, well-publicized event like IPCPR presents a great opportunity for companies willing to leverage social media to get exposure to tens of thousands of cigar smokers on social media.
So who were the top performers at IPCPR this year? The results are below. But first a note: these results are not comprehensive. They do not cover all cigar brands at IPCPR (that would be impossible), nor do they cover all social media platforms. I limited my statistical analysis to the previous 7 days of tweeting activity on Twitter because its open environment allows me to get the most detailed information. Yes, it is one platform among many, but the stats sill tell a solid story. Nonetheless, I have also included a some anecdotal analysis because there were some brands who made some spectacular plays on other networks like Facebook (i.g. Alec Bradley sends first cigars into space). If you’re wondering why I didn’t include more brands (even big ones), it is because this kind of research takes a lot of work and I was looking for representative samples.
Rankings are based on total number of company mentions during the week of IPCPR.
Drew Estate dominated social media this year, with Rocky Patel and Alec Bradley coming in second and third. We’ll go into the how and why’s of it in a minute. But quickly I should explain that the “Total company mentions” column on the right is not the sum of “hashtag mentions” and “ipcpr mentions” – it includes more tweets, like those that @ mention the company, use slang terms for the company, etc. Thus it is the most comprehensive metric, and the one which judged rankings.
How did Drew Estate do it?
Drew Estate crushed it this year for a few reasons:
Drew Estate made a concerted effort to draw their customers into the IPCPR experience using an IPCPR hashtag.
Drew Estate posted across multiple platforms – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, achieving a maximum reach across platform audiences. They were also smart in posting content across platforms (i.e. their Facebook page is full of their YouTube interviews).
Company employees were active on social and responded/thanked users who submitted posts with #DEipcpr.
Drew Estate did a fantastic job and all cigar companies could learn a thing or two on how to engage customers and increase brand loyalty.
Honorable mention: Alec Bradley
Alec Bradley didn’t have nearly as much social momentum during IPCPR 2013, but they deserve an honorable mention here for the sheer creativity of their marketing approach. While in Vegas, they made history by launching the first cigars into space. Yeah. The post had 11 shares, over a hundred likes, and a lot of comments. I estimate this post had a viral reach in the tens of thousands, and will be posted around the internet for a long time to come.
Way to go Alec Bradley!
What about Rocky Patel?
I’m a big fan of Rocky Patel cigars – great flavor, incredibly consistent construction, awesome pricing too. Their performance on social this year, however, wasn’t so much the result of the company having a solid social media strategy. A cursory glance around their networks revealed that they didn’t put a lot of effort into getting people involved this year, indicating they were riding on existing brand excitement.
Rocky Patel vs Alec Bradley
If you want to see what a bad approach to social media looks like, just take a look at the Rocky Patel Facebook page as compared to a brand like Alec Bradley. Here is the Rocky Patel Facebook page:
Note that there is no visual content, very little interaction from page fans, and it really ends up just being a feed for events. The page is visually unappealing and doesn’t represent the brand well at all. It is, in short, really boring. Whoever is managing their page needs to correct course if they want to get any value from their Facebook page – right now it is a waste.
Now take a look at Alec Bradley’s stream. They have roughly the same amount of page fans, but look how their rate of interaction is literally 50x that of Rocky Patel’s page:
The lesson? Be creative, use visual content, and try to act like you care about your Facebook fans enough to give them good content!
Congratulations to Drew Estate and Alec Bradley for putting on a stellar performance with social media at this year’s IPCPR!
Want to learn how to kick ass and make money with social media? Take a look at our most recent guides:
NEW YORK, NY (July 8, 2013) — Nat Sherman, Tobacconist to the World, unveils the newest addition to its premiumcigar portfolio, The Nat Sherman Sterling. The Nat Sherman Sterling will make its debut at the 2013 International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Convention in Las Vegas later this month, per an announcement made today byWilliam Sherman, Executive Vice President of Nat Sherman.
“The Nat Sherman Sterling redefines elegance,” said Mr. Sherman. “Following on the heels of our Nat Sherman 1930 and award-winning Timeless collections, The Nat Sherman Sterling maintains Nat Sherman’s tradition ofpassion and creativity by showcasing yet another unique blend of the world’s finest tobaccos.”
Made up of four traditional vitolas, The Nat Sherman Sterling are tied in wheels of 25 cigars and packed in beautifulslide-top cabinet boxes. The Perlas (4” x 40), Marevas (5” x 42), Dalias (6.25” x 43) and Corona Gorda (5.75” x 46)feature a blend of aged-Dominican filler tobaccos (the oldest has been aged for ten years), a Dominican binder and astunning Ecuador-grown Connecticut wrapper.
“The Nat Sherman Sterling represents a new standard for complexity, balance and finesse in premium cigars,” saidMichael Herklots, Executive Director of Retail and Brand Development. “They’re inspired by some of the most prizedHavana cigars of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s that continue to be collected to this day. These cigars embody balance and sophistication, and focus on flavor more than strength.”
Handmade at the MATASA factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic, The Nat Sherman Sterling range in price from $9.00-$15.00 per cigar, and are available exclusively at authorized Nat Sherman Tobacconists throughout the United States.
About Nat Sherman International
Founded by Nat Sherman in 1930 and family-guided for three generations, Nat Sherman International continues todefine the authentic tobacco experience. Through a tradition of innovation and expertly crafted products, Nat Sherman’s timeless appeal, while quintessentially New York is embraced and enjoyed worldwide. Learn more at www.natsherman.com.
The management of Velvet Cigar Lounge, located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, announced yesterday plans to close and relocate. Management cited unreasonable terms of lease resigning details in their decision to relocate. Though they’ve had many problems with ventilation and troubled neighbors in recent years, Velvet really is a great location for cigar smokers and was home to many famous cigar smokers. Off the top of my head, I know I met Billy Connolly (Boondock Saints) and John Rich from Big & Rich. FineTobaccoNYC also hosted a handful of events at Velvet (above).
Here are details from the email:
Dear Loyal Customers and Friends,
We are writing you with the disappointing news that Velvet Cigar Lounge will be closing down on July 31st. This comes after a year of attempting to have a new lease signed at our current location, but due to impossible terms imposed by our landlord, we have been unsuccessful. We have had six great years at the lounge, and we hope you also have fond memories of the cigars, friendship and laughs we’ve all shared.
We need your help to relocate. We are determined to re-open with a bigger, enhanced Velvet Cigar Lounge, and we need your support in making this a reality. We’ve already located and committed to a new space, and you can directly help in this effort by purchasing one of our many perks offered on our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
All of the funds collected through these sales will go directly to the construction of the new lounge, and will specifically assist in covering the cost of a state-of-the-art commercial ventilation system, essential in providing an experience more comfortable than we have been able to offer in the past and topping the list of priorities for the new space.
You will also be helping keep our amazing staff of five employed, and supporting our cigar suppliers and vendors that rely on Velvet for much needed revenue in a hurting industry.
Keep the Velvet spirit alive. We’ve help build a community that mirrors the youthful energy of the East Village, catering to artsy and necktie types alike with the lounge’s creative sensibilities and laid-back vibe. From the actor to the accountant, the unemployed to the overworked, Velvet has become an oasis in our hectic city where one forgets about troubles and meets the most interesting of characters. Please help us keep one of the few cigar-friendly establishments in New York City open.
Lastly, just as important as supporting our crowdfunding campaign by purchasing a perk issharing the campaign with others. Please share by posting this link on Facebook, Twitter and forwarding on this email: http://igg.me/at/velvet/x/3723569