May 2016 Newsletter

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 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.

June 2015 Newsletter

June 2015
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Kurt's Corner


   Please bear with me: this is about cigars!  In her seminal work, The Classic Italian Cookbook, (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1978), Marcella Hazan writes, (p.335):
"I cannot imagine Italy without its vegetable stalls, filling ancient squares and animating dusty side streets with mounds of fabulous forms in purple, green, red, gold, and orange. In a land heavy with man's monuments, these are the soil's own masterworks.
Perhaps one day the vitality of these still flourishing markets will be replaced by the pallor of deep-freeze counters, those cemeteries of food, where produce is sealed up in wax boxes marked, like some tombstones, with photographs of the departed.  But I hope it never happens. I would sooner be deprived of all of the marvels of Michelangelo."
What creates the “cemeteries of food” she so eloquently describes?  Regulation, the hidden tax on small business, prevents small operators - manufacturers and retailers, from competing (surviving) against well-financed larger corporations who will make up the cost of regulation through increased market share.
Can you imagine the USA without its brick and mortar cigar shops?  Can you imagine buying cigars in their plastic tombstones, with a brand label on top and no images whatsoever?  I can imagine it, I have seen it!  If you doubt this – take a quick trip to Canada. 
I would sooner be deprived of the works of Mark Twain, who, through his cigar smoke, I imagine would chuckle and agree!  If you also agree, join the CRA!!  This, your (consumer) cigar rights organization, leads the defense charge for you in the halls of Congress and among the States, to prevent over-reaching regulation at both the factory and retail level.  Their work has already accomplished much – and yet they still need your help. We can win this fight! We can win, if you join today!

Kurt Van Keppel

President, XIKAR, Inc.

Help Exempt Premium Cigars from FDA Regulations!

Summer 2014
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The Target is no Longer on our Back. It is on our Chest!!


Attention XIKAR Nation!
The Food & Drug Administration is attempting to regulate the premium cigar industry. We only have until July 8th to comment on the FDA's proposed regulations. We encourage everyone who has a passion for the world of cigars to send in your comments and sign the petition to fight these regulations!

Help exempt premium cigars from FDA regulations! Follow the link to access the Cigar Rights of America's Response Page. This page provides sample content that can be used to construct your message to the FDA. We encourage you to use this content as a guide and to make edits so the email is personalized from you.
Once you formulate your message, continue your
fight for the freedom to enjoy premium cigars!


Click here to go to and provide your comments to the FDA!

Click here to sign the petition against FDA Regulation!

It's time to tell the FDA to stay out of our Humidors!
Comment and Sign Today!

We will be sharing these links on the XIKAR social media profiles.
Please help us share this information and spread the call to action!

May 2014 Newsletter


May 21, 2014

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Kurt's Corner
On April 10, 2014 my iPad was stolen, along with
other “personal effects” (my briefcase and suitcase),
from my vehicle in Houston.  Theft is a crime that deprives
us of our property, and to some degree our liberty (having
to go shopping for clothes and sundries instead of calling
on customers), and ultimately of our enjoyment or prosperity
in life.  Our criminal laws are very clear on this matter –
theft is a prosecutable crime.  I have been very
impressed with the Harris County Sheriff’s
department’s handling of the matter – I may even get my
iPad back!
Our Constitution’s laws are also very clear on the matter of theft: Article V. states “(No person shall) be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”  On July 8, 2014, you may be the victim of a crime.  You may be deprived of your liberty and ultimately your property by the FDA, who will on that date decide how to regulate your enjoyment of cigars.  Unfortunately, when the perpetrator and the prosecutor are the same, the handling of the matter is much less impressive.  You will not get due process of law from a regulatory agency whose purpose is to eradicate your access to a legal product!
I know some smokers who are complacent on this and other smoking issues.  They say, “I don’t mind warning labels”.  “Won’t regulation of production protect us?”  Don’t be fooled – you already have the choice, the liberty to smoke or not to smoke, to choose between brands, and try new products, to congregate with others of similar tastes.  Through regulation, the FDA will create a burden on manufacturers that will effectively eliminate new items, killing small manufacturers and also small retailers.  This will be a theft, a death by decree. 
But we have a chance!  You do have a voice – the FDA has given us a sliver of hope by suggesting that they may choose to not regulate premium cigars.   We now have 48 days left in the “comment period”.  Your comments will count!  Go NOW to the 
CRA website. Review the situation, click the link, make your comment.  Our passion for cigars, our business, our industry depends on YOU!


Kurt Van Keppel

February 2013 Newsletter


February 25, 2013


Kurt's Corner


     February brings us both Valentines Day and President’s Day.  It’s therefore fitting to celebrate our love of this country and particularly the freedom it gives us.  


     However, those freedoms are under constant attack, both from within and out!  This column has honored those who have served to protect us outside our borders.  Thousands also protect us from within, among them news pundits, bloggers, associations, and more.  Two associations, IPCPR (cigar retailers’ association) and the CRA (Cigar Rights of America, a consumer association) protect your right to enjoy tobacco.  


     Both of the birthday Presidents knew that attacks on our freedoms would start with attacks on the truth.  And they each prescribe the same solution.


Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light – Washington


I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts - Lincoln


     A real crisis challenges your ability to enjoy cigars.   The federal government has granted oversight of cigars to the FDA, who intends to regulate them out of existence as you know it.  Limited variety, defaced packaging, abolishment of walk-in humidors and cessation of individual cigar selection are among the threats coming from the FDA.  Regulation of production may make handmade cigars disappear entirely!


     A new bill before Congress, H.R. 792, will eliminate premium cigars from FDA oversight.  It will protect your right to enjoy the cigars you love!  This bill received over 220 sponsors in the last Congress.  But with a new Congress, a new Bill needs your support.  CRA will bring you this truth, and help you meet this crisis Act on it!  Join today.  Sign the petition through their web site!  Write your Congressman and Senator!  And, good smoking!


Kurt Van Keppel
President & Co-Founder

New Vitara, double flame lighter!
     Love our Element lighter? Then you have to check out our new double jet flame lighter, the Vitara. With a unique slide-action trigger, it features a built-in side 7mm punch, an oversized fuel adjustment wheel and an easy-view fuel window. Its body is slightly smaller than the Element and comes in 5 finishes including our new Pearl and G2 (gunmetal on gunmetal). 

XIKAR U: How to Light your Cigar with a Jet Flame Lighter

     XIKAR President Kurt Van Keppel demonstrates how to properly light your cigar with a jet flame lighter.

Don't Forget-- Register your Warranty!

     Be sure to register all of your XIKAR products on our website. To register your product, please create a new warranty registration account or use your existing XIKAR account to add a new product. The entire form must be filled our to receive your free XIKAR sheath. The information you provide to XIKAR Inc. is solely used to better serve your needs and is not for sale, nor shall be distributed in any other matter to anyone else. Once you have registered your product, you will receive a free custom-fitted sheath to protect your lighter/cutter in the mail within 3 weeks.
*We do not provide sheaths for the Scribe, Stratosphere, Tabletops or punches due to their unique size. 

Featured Product:
Xi Cutters

     It all started in 1994, when Kurt Van Keppel decided to buy a good cigar cutter. After purchasing several models, he found that both, the inexpensive and high-end models, under-performed. So he set out with Scott Almsberger to match good design (ergonomics and function) with the best styling and materials available. The result was the Xi cutter we all know and love today. XIKAR is proud to offer the Xi1, Xi2 and Xi3 in various designs and finishes to match any style. Whether nylon fiberglass, anodized aluminum, carbon fiber, exotic wood, titanium, Mayan cloisonne' or even diamonds, they are equipped with high quality 440 stainless steel blades backed by a lifetime warranty. 

Upcoming XIKAR Events

     There are a lot of great events across the country year round for you to check out. To hear about all of the latest events/news, visit our tab for Events on Facebook. Here are a few coming up from our XIKAR retailers:
2/28 Fidel's

in Kansas City, MO 5 - 9 p.m.
2/28 Cigar Lounge

in McKinney, TX 5 - 9 p.m.
3/1 The Maduro Room

in Lexington, SC 4 - 9 p.m.
3/2 Tobaccology

in Manassas, VA 3 - 7 p.m.
3/7 Smokin Premiums

in Stuart, FL 4 - 9 p.m.
3/8 The Havana House

in Rochester, NY
3/8 Cigar Castle

in Tampa, FL 5 - 9 p.m.
3/14 DeCuba

in Daphne, AL 4 - 9 p.m.
3/14 The Cigar Room

in Lee's Summit, MO 5 - 8 p.m.
3/14 The Cigar House

in Lawrenceville, GA 5 - 8 p.m.
3/16 The Cigar Shop of Biloxi

in Biloxi, MS 12 - 5 p.m.
3/26 GarVino's

in Oscala, FL 4 - 10 p.m.
3/30 The Briar Shoppe

in Houston, TX 12 - 6 p.m.

X4L Hall of Famer, Dan Kruse visits XIKAR HQ!

     "I was first introduced to cigars when I moved to San Antonio, Texas in 1985. At the time, Red McCombs owned the Spurs and was a friend of mine. At a basketball game, he handed me a cigar so I didn't hesitate to cut, light and smoke it. After enjoying my first stick, I was immediately hooked on the hobby.
     Cigars to me, are like perfume. You either really like them, you don't mind them or you hate them. If you smoke good premium cigars, the smells and aromas are like a great perfume filling the room with complex notes-- there is no better smell. I first heard about XIKAR at an event they did at Club Humidor with owners Tiffany and Keith Rumbo. I smoked the HC Series and immediately liked them because of their flavor and fair price. I have noticed that every cigar introduced in the HC Series has tasted better and better to me. This shows me that XIKAR keeps their commitment to being concerned for the consumer, giving them as much flavor as possible for a reasonable amount of money. I've been in sales all my life and in my opinion, an HC Series is the best cigar you can smoke in the world for many reasons. The most important is the staff, ownership and people at XIKAR use extra care when producing products compared to others in the market. Also, they provide a premium cigar for a good price when they could easily sell them for twice the price.
    Believe it or not, I have about 50 XIKAR cutters, lighters and about 1,000 HC Series cigars. When I was first introduced to XIKAR, I bought fifteen cutters. With such a great design and price, I needed more than one. Also, I purchased ten Tabletop lighters the first time I laid my eyes on one. The Tabletop is by far my favorite lighter because with the lifetime warranty, its large design and reasonable price, you can feel the value in your hand.  I buy multiple products to build a collection and of course to gift. It's fun to give someone a XIKAR product because I know it's a gift for a lifetime; they are going to have it forever backed by its unconditional warranty."
- Dan Kruse



Xi1 Room101 Cutter by Stick Review
Watch the Review

Habano² by Stogie Review
Read the Review
Habano² rated a 94 by Golf Spy
Read the Review

VX V-Cutter by The Smoking Hot Cigar Chick
Watch the Review

Trezo by The Cigar Crook
Watch the Review

XIKAR For Life Hall of Fame

     The XIKAR For Life Hall of Fame Award is designed to recognize an individual who has demonstrated exceptional support and commitment of the XIKAR organization. Nominees are selected based on their affiliation with XIKAR plus their passion and commitment for the cigar industry.

Carolee Martin
Fraser Monk
Jeff McDowell
Robbie Morton
Daniel Kruse
Daniel Dwyer
Jay Bitzer
Michael “Moe” O’Donovan
Alberto Alfonso

Each year, four individuals are inducted into the XIKAR Hall of Fame. The next inductee will be announced in March. Submit nominees to XIKAR at

Be a part of XIKAR Nation! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to see daily updates of events, pictures and even weekly contests to win XIKAR swag! 


 Who's your Paddy?! 

     It's that time of year to prepare for the holiday filled with luck, shamrocks, green attire and beer. But most importantly, facial hair. In honor of St. Patrick's impressive beard, we are looking for the best beard and cigar combo of 2013. Throw your razor in the drawer and send us a picture at of your impressive facial hair smoking a stogie by March 17th 12:00 a.m. CST.
     The winner of a rare retired model,  Xi1 Shade Tobacco Leaf Camo Cutter will be announced on St. Patrick's Day! (Our 2012 Winner, Jon Whitcraft pictured above)

Mardi Gras Winner!

     Congratulations to the winner of an Executive II lighter, Carl Byrd!

Here is his winning entry:

Fantasy Football League Winners
     XIKAR has successfully finished their first Fantasy Football season. Although Team XIKAR did not come out on top, three members of XIKAR Nation received some well earned prizes. 
Champion and $1,000 in merchandise: Mark Bischoff "AshMarx"

2nd Place and $500 in merchandise: Kirk Bodick "Prince Harry Billards"

3rd Place and $250 in merchandise: Chris Riccio "Peyton Manthings"
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