purotemp

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.

January 2016 Newseltter

XIKAR NATION
January 2016
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Kurt's Corner

 

Twenty years is a short time. Twenty years ago, I had just one, not two kids.  They are now in college, and have grown up so fast that I like to say, “in a few short years, they’ll be older than me!”

And just twenty years ago, Scott and I started XIKAR.  Out of an idea we built in our garages and sold to our local cigar retailers, Scott and I built an iconic* cutter – and then a brand.  Of this, I like to say, “the brand is bigger than the product.” 

How does this happen, when the road to success is littered with innovative product?  We began with a product of great function, form (artful to the eye), feel (ergonomic) and sold it at a fair price.  And we didn’t stop there – we added a lifetime guarantee, with a commitment to treat our customers as we want to be treated: with concern, good communication, consistency and quickness.  Add in a little luck (the cigar boom), and a lot of persistence (we didn’t pay ourselves the first two years!), and that’s how it happens.

How does it continue to happen?  You make it happen. You continue the now twenty-year-old dream by supporting why we exist – through your appreciation of cool product and service you can trust. Thank you!  In the coming weeks, you’ll see a 20th Anniversary commemorative edition cutter, as well as a “thank you tour”.  I hope to meet each of you in person at one of these events.  And at that event, if you can tell me where the name XIKAR originated, I’ll hand you a cool XIKAR pin.

*XIKAR is extremely pleased to announce, on our 20th Anniversary, the award of a Trademark by the United States Patent & Trademark Office on the shape of our cutter. In order to achieve this honor and its perpetual protection, we had to prove to the patent office that our cutter had achieved “iconic” status. From Idea to Icon!


 
 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

November 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
November 2015
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Kurt's Corner

#XiDay Black Friday

   Throughout the month of November, we find ourselves taking moments to reflect on the blessings in our lives that we are truly thankful for. At XIKAR, we have an endless list of opportunities, successes and experiences for which we are immensely appreciative. Each item on our list seems to connect directly with the one entity we are the most thankful for year in and year out: the XIKAR Nation.
   To show our appreciation to each and every member of XIKAR Nation, we have teamed up with our retailers to present the #XiDay Black Friday Sale! This event, running Friday, November 27th – Sunday, November 29th, features 20% off ALL XIKAR accessories at participating locations. It’s the perfect opportunity to complete all holiday shopping for the cigar smoker on your list, while also picking up a little treat for yourself!
   In addition to 20% off all accessories, we are also offering a special giveaway to #XiDay Black Friday participants, with the opportunity to WIN a new accessory every 15 minutes! Click here for full giveaway details.

   We wish you the happiest holiday season filled with the warmth of family and friends and, of course, a great cigar! 


 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

October 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
October 2015
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Kurt's Corner

A Cigar Lifestyle

   I love to travel.  Hunting and fishing trips, cigar events, vacations, in a variety of combinations fill my calendar each month. And I fill my bags with cigars for each, to smoke at the end of the day, or on the trail, in the boat... throughout the journey.
   Even when I am not on the road, I celebrate leisure time with a cigar, whether at golf (the cigar is definitely the most successful part of that outing!), in the garden, or around the fire pit. Actually, I’ll smoke a cigar with friends and associates any time we have a restful moment of camaraderie.
   Very clearly I have made a cigar central to leisure and camaraderie. In fact, I believe “a cigar is an hour-long vacation”, a source of happiness and pleasure.  The cigar creates the opportunity to celebrate with friends, whenever and wherever I can. I have a cigar lifestyle!
   I bet you do too!  In the coming months, I’ll share some of my recent celebrations with you.  And, I’ll invite you to share yours with me. 

Happy smoking!

Kurt Van Keppel

President, XIKAR, Inc.

May 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
May 2015
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Kurt's Corner

 

   "Summer: Hair gets lighter. Skin gets Darker. Water gets warmer. Drinks get colder. Music gets louder. Nights get longer. Life gets better." 
--Unknown   

   It's hard to believe that the prime cigar smoking season is just right around the corner! As you begin to fill your schedule with fishing trips, barbecues and baseball games, the XIKAR Team is hard at work to bring you the latest accessories to take your summer from hot to smokin'! We'll see you at the herf!

 

March 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
March 2015
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Kurt's Corner

 

    Kurt is currently out of the office traveling, but the XIKAR Team is excited for spring! We have been lucky enough in the Midwest to enjoy some ideal spring weather over the past couple of weeks, and are hoping that the Lion of March doesn't retaliate with the typical winter storms as the month wraps up.
    Whether you are hunting, dusting off the golf clubs, wrapped up in March Madness or gearing up for baseball season, we hope you are able to find time to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful season, great cigars and joyful camaraderie!

The XIKAR Team

November 2014 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
November 26, 2014
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Kurt's Corner



Happy ThanksGIVING
 
“It is better to give than to receive”. Is this true? I’ll let you be the judge.  Scarleth, who lives in Tampa and worked the Verbena Cigar Festival event last Sunday with us, told me the following story. On that same morning as she was leaving her church in Ybor City, she saw her friend, the homeless man who hangs out there. 

 

He looked distressed, so she gave him a hug and the $10 she had in her pocket.  With tears, he thanked her and wandered off. She watched him enter the church, and fearful that he might be asked to leave, she pursued. Inside, she found him at the desk, sealing a donation envelope. She asked him what he was doing – and he said that he was donating $10 to the church. “That same $10 I gave you?” “Yes.” “But that was for you!” “I know,” he replied, “but I really felt poor and rejected this morning, and asked God for comfort. He sent me your hug. I was so grateful that I wanted to give everything I had for that.  All I had was that $10.” 

  That’s a beautiful reminder that our holiday this week is   really about giving thanks.  It’s my favorite holiday – for   family, camaraderie, good food and libation.  It’s also my   favorite for the simple reason that giving thanks rewards   us far more than getting – as the story above shows.  I   want to thank you, each and every one, for the     enthusiasm, support, trust and loyalty you have given us over the last 18 years.  It is a true gift!

Sincerely,

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR, Inc.

October 2014 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
October 31, 2014
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Kurt's Corner


I am in costume and can't be found, as I
"(cigar) stick or treat" throughout the neighborhood. 

Happy Halloween XIKAR Nation!

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.

March 2014 Newsletter


XIKAR NATION Newsletter

March 20, 2014

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Kurt's Corner
 
We've been talking a lot about Innovation lately, at the office, with our
customers and even on these pages. You see, we believe that 
Innovation (and extraordinary customer experience), is key to growing 
a business that attracts consumers like you to our products and brand.

Innovation began at XIKAR in my hand.  As I observed my hand cutting a 
cigar, I realized that the entire palm could be used to create a much 
more powerful cut - and the Xi cutter was born.  We have made this 
process, of seeking better solutions by observing consumer interaction,
core to our innovation - and now a formal process at XIKAR.  Not only
do we observe, but also we strip away comfortable assumptions of past
solutions, by asking: what's the problem  / what's the goal?

I take great pride in announcing the latest result of this process. Our PuroTemp Wireless Hygrometer System solves the problem of both neglect and hyper-attention to your humidification systems. The system not only gives you a desktop readout of your humidor's temperature and humidity, but also alarms you when either surpasses your set limits.  Now you give both your cigars, and yourself, a worry-free rest. You don't have to open the box to see what's going on in there!

You can find one at your local tobacconist - ask him for a demo.  And while there, pick up a bottle of XIKAR PG Solution, the other key to maintaining proper humidity.  (For more education on this topic than you imagine or perhaps even want, check this link).

In the meantime, we'll be back at XPDS (XIKAR Product Design Services) center, dreaming up more ways to improve your smoking experience.  And on these pages, and on Twitter and Facebook, we'll ask for your help, opinions and advice.  Keep an eye out! 

Sincerely,


Kurt Van Keppel
President
XIKAR Inc.
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