cigar journal

June 2016 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
June 2016
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Kurt's Corner
 

        XIKAR is dedicated to our mission to serve great products through honest and ergonomic design to achieve superior form, feel and function. Our team is constantly at work developing innovative concepts and products to deliver only the most attractive and superior functioning accessories to the XIKAR Nation. Over the next couple of weeks leading up to the IPCPR Trade Show and Convention, we are delighted to share sneak peeks of our newest, cutting edge accessories, some of which have been fine tuned in research and development for over 3 years. In celebration of our 20th Anniversary, we reflect back on the original products and constant values that have built the XIKAR brand into the industry leader it is today, while aspiring to revolutionize the standard of accessories in the cigar industry. Stay tuned!

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

 

May 2016 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
May 2016
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Kurt's Corner
 

     We in the cigar trade have finally received the FDA’s ruling of regulations it “deems” to impose on the premium cigar and other tobacco trades.  Unfortunately, these new regulations will make it extremely difficult and expensive to innovate cigars (up to $300,000 and three years to introduce each size of each blend).  To add insult to injury, the FDA has grandfathered only those brands / cigars in existence for sale before February 2007, when Congress gave them the right to regulate tobacco.  Thus, all of the innovations in cigar blends and brands that you have enjoyed since February 2007 will simply cease to exist by June 2018. By some estimates, this includes up to 50% of the cigars in the typical cigar shop humidor.
    Yet we hold out hope!  A Bill to exempt premium cigars, H.R 662, has passed the House Appropriations Committee, and now goes to the whole house for vote.  A similar bill exits in the Senate: S. 441.  How can you help? Go to www.cigarrights.org. Sign the petition. And take “Action” with your Congressman and Senator via the “Action Alert” banner at the top.  Your favorite pastime needs you, NOW!

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

April 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
April 2015
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Kurt's Corner

 

 Ten days ago I joined a group of the cigar trade's leading retailers and brand distributors for a four day conference in the Dominican Republic. You can imagine the camaraderie of a cigar translates well to a cigar conference in the DR! A cigar makes a plumber and and president friends, so why not competitors too?! So it goes for at least a week every year.

   Two presentations stood out for their value and urgency. First, most urgent and important, are the fight for tobacco rights in the US congress and in the halls of many state legislatures. We cannot let up either fight, lest our beloved past-time get regulated  and taxed out of existence. The fight is real and the time is now! Please click this link right now and head over to the Cigar Rights of America (CRA) web site. Join, sign the petition, and contribute your financial support.

   We also viewed a presentation by Ken Schmidt, a former VP of marketing for Harley Davidson, who painted a stark portrait of a company that went bankrupt by focusing marketing on product features instead of the lifestyle it creates.  The turnaround at Harley apparently coincides with the birth of the "why" buy a Harley (the experience). You can view an abbreviated version of Ken's speech here.

   I am extremely grateful to enjoy business in a trade that is already "lifestyle", where the why is already well known. Furthermore, I delight in providing you an experience that supports the why, a cool tool for every celebration, and I deeply appreciate hearing from you on your experience with our product.  So, please do keep sending us your thoughts in emails and letters. I like to receive both positive (who doesn't want an 'attaboy'?!), and negative (so that we can improve) news.

Happy spring, and good smoking!

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR, Inc.

July 2014 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION Newsletter

July 31, 2014

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Kurt's Corner
 
We are back from Las Vegas, and the IPCPR Trade Show
was a tremendous success! Our team works hard all year
to create the newest and most cutting edge cigar
accessories, and this year was no exception. The latest
XIKAR innovations were inspired by beauty and power, from
the heights of mountaintops, to the depths of the ocean.
You will be prepared to take on cigars bigger than you've 
ever imagined
, and will never again find yourself without a
cutter on hand
. Of course, all products exemplify 
superior form, feel and function, the Essence of XIKAR!

The industry received our new accessories with adulation
at the IPCPR Convention, and we look forward to getting them into your hands. This newsletter will introduce you to some of the new XIKAR innovations, and we will continue to feature a new product every month through the end of the year. 


 I want to thank you all for your loyalty to XIKAR as we progress with our commitment to revolutionary product development. I am certain that you will be impressed not only with the new releases, but the future introduction of creative concepts as XIKAR continues to serve you... for life!

Sincerely,


Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.

April 2014 Newsletter


XIKAR NATION Newsletter

April 23, 2014

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Kurt's Corner
 
I love to eat – I always have.  Over time, it’s become more of a “living
to” than a “living for”.  Cigars are also like that for me – I live for the
moments to smoke them.  This month, we discuss cigars and eating,
which share more in common than just our palate (which truth to tell,
is enough!)
 
Last week’s trip to New York City provided my passion
extraordinary satisfaction.  The Comfort Diner extended day-after
comfort, while Mario Batali’s Esca found a way out of NY – to heaven
(try the Branzino), and The John Dory Oyster Bar gave me the need
for Comfort – along with the best oysters and lobster po' boy
imaginable. You can find my list of favorite haunts for both food and cigars right here: Kurt's NYC Food & Cigars. Add one of your own!
 
New York City has among the world’s best cigar shops – with something for every taste, in both cigars and atmosphere.  And rather than pick favorites, I invite you to visit them all.  The cigar world in New York occupies a small space, with just enough stores for the intrepid smoking traveler to visit (most of the others are gone, victims of New York’s draconian tobacco taxes and anti-smoking laws).  Among them you will find sophistication, relaxation and lounges large and small.
 
For all my passionate eating, my weight hasn’t changed. Some might call it “discerning,” or less kindly, “picky”. Really, I just eat what I like, and beyond that I don’t have much interest.  However, I practice intrepid eating, meaning I’m willing to try anything once. The same is true for cigars – this is key to really, really understanding cigars.  And if you also read about them, study them, perhaps write about them, you will soon find your own expertise.  Howard, who I first met in the Dominican Republic, recently said hello at the TX Cigar Fest.  He carries a cigar dossier with him – of descriptions of almost every cigar he has ever smoked.  Now that’s personal expertise!
 
At events, consumers often ask what cigar I might recommend.  I always reply, “what do you drink: beer, wine or whiskey?” I find the palate for drinks matches cigars (beer – mild, wine – medium, whisky – strong).  I also find the palate is indifferent to gender: once I suggested a strong cigar to a woman who was sipping a bourbon – she loved it. 
 
Whichever palate you have, I invite you to intrepid, travel-smoking discovery.  If not to NY, then travel around your city, visit a variety of shops.  “Travel” through the humidor, practice intrepid smoking.  Above all, enjoy!

Sincerely,


Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.
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