April 2010 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
  April 2010
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,

Besides the finale of college basketball, March set the pace for the an exciting Spring. We had the pleasure of entertaining some customers in the beautiful tobacco region of Nicaragua, to learn the art of growing, harvesting, fermenting and blending tobacco. Our master blender, Jesus Fuego, did a superb job educating our customers while setting the stage for a 6x60 Grande cigar introduction in July.
Nicaragua factory tour Cigar roller Master Blender Jesus Fuego teaches tobacco growing
March also brought an opportunity to voice my concerns regarding anti-tobacco to Kansas Senators at the Senate Taxation Committee hearing in Topeka, KS. The political posturing is completely unbalanced, which is why we need more voice and representation as an industry on all levels. Targeted tax proposals to increase taxes on cigars and other tobacco products (OTP) will seriously hurt the local retailer, and will limit your freedom to buy good cigars!  Retailer friends and I echoed that a substantial tax increase would devastate their businesses. Time and again, politicians tell us the same two things: "we didn't know the premium cigar business is different (small business, hand-crafted), and we didn't know you guys were out there." LET THEM KNOW! Email or write your state and US congressmen! Tell them you oppose targeted taxes and regulation on cigars and OTP. Join the Cigar Rights of America (CRA)to help defend your freedoms!

After leaving the State Capital, I attended an HC Series Cigar event in Napa Valley, to share the HC Series cigars and story with Brenda Roberts at Baker Street Tobacconist, and with her customers. I also had a chance to educate them on the proper steps of cutting, lighting, storing and humidifying cigars. I enjoyed meeting Stephane de Vivier, winemaker at Hyde De Villaine, a Carneros joint venture between the Villaine family of Burgundy (Domaine de la Romanée Conti) and the Hyde Family, whose wine-making in California dates back to the late 1800's. C'est Superb! (fantastic wines!)


 

March Madness for me finally came to closure with last Friday's jam-packed event at W. Curtis Draper in Washington DC.  The trip started with stumping "the Hill" to tell my Kansas Senators (Roberts and Brownback) that premium cigars are unique and small business (see above).  Also got a great tour of the Capital from XIKAR friend and former Congressman (FL) Ron Phillips.  Thanks Ron!  Mother nature showed up to help, bringing out the cherry blossoms, tourists and XIKAR consumers in droves.  Fun event, thanks MOM!

 
March Madness is my new battle cry and I picked XIKAR in the Final Four! 
 
XIKAR for Life
 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

February 2010 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
  February 2010
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics was a fantastic stage for hundreds of athletes living a dream and having a chance to compete for that ultimate gold medal.  I can remember 13 years ago having that same Olympic spirit and dedication for the XIKAR brand.  Many XIKAR customers and cigar aficionados know about the early beginnings of XIKAR in a small garage building the famous tear-drop cutter.  A humble beginning for a company  who in January 2010 was recognized by Cigar Aficionado Magazine for creating one of the best cigar blends in the world.  This prestigious honor from Cigar Aficonado plus raving reviews from tobacconists indicate that our spirit and commitment to the cigar-rolling business is no simple dream.  This is truly our gold medal so please celebrate with us and tell us how much you enjoy HC Series cigars!

 

Cigar Aficionado's rating of the Best Cigars of the Year listed HC Series Habano Colorado Belicoso in the distinguished Top 25.  This masterpiece has a unique blend of tobacco making it a robust figurado cigar.  Our team of aficionados and lovers of the leaf are blending a special full-bodied 6x60 Grande cigar and a rich Maduro for an early June smoke... click on http://hc.xikar.com for more cigar news plus upcoming HC Series events at your local tobacconist.

 

Enjoying a great a cigar like the HC Habano Colorado starts with the finest tobacco leaves and master blending.  Once the cigar is nestled inside your humidor or travel case it is important to maintain the right humidity and temperature to protect your investment.  The ultimate gratification of any cigar depends on proper humidification, storage, travel and of course... the right  tobacconist destination.  Last year at IPCPR, XIKAR featured an array of new designs and innovation, but the most important and often overlooked accessory was the XIKAR HumiStore Water Pillow and PG Solution. Did you know your favorite cigar can lose essential oils, flavor and freshness in just one day in the wrong environment?  With the right humidification system and a few drops of PG Solution you can guarantee a perfect cigar! Please enjoy your HC Series cigars, don't mess with them!  Learn more at www.xikar.com.

 

This year our mission is to educate, interact and reward every cigar aficionado, tobacconist and newcomer to the world of cigars and accessories.  XIKAR remains dedicated to creating great cigars and accessories that embark on our XIKAR For Life mantra. Go for the gold and capture the spirit one cigar at a time.

 

XIKAR...The Best Thing to Happen to Cigars Since Fire!

 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

December 2009 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
  December 2009
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,

What an action packed November! Scott and I traveled around the globe meeting with new customers, consulting with our strategic suppliers and visiting with good friends in the industry. I'm not much for living out of a suitcase but when I get a chance to develop and innovate, tweak a new design or preview a new HC Series cigar blend, it recharges my battery.
 
I would like to take this moment and extend my appreciation to all of our loyal XIKAR fans for supporting us during a difficult economic year by  enjoying XIKAR cigars and accessories. Wait until we light-up 2010...not only will we continue to introduce new innovation and expand our marketing activities but we also plan to increase our connection with cigar lovers around the world. XIKAR for Life will take on an active meaning!

Big Smoke NYCI didn't get a chance to personally attend the Big Smoke events this year, but be sure to read about the Big Smoke and preview former New York Mayor, Rudy Guiliani's comments and his U.S. Senate news.

 
When I returned home, I was pleasantly surprised to see that our XIKAR HC Series cigars continue to receive rave reviews in Cigar Aficionado, Cigar Press, Smoke Shop and numerous blogs. The HC Series Habano Colorado Belicoso cigar was voted the "Cigar of the Week" by Cigar Aficionado in November with a 92 rating and Cigar Press featured HC Series cigars in their Vol III issue. We have our sights set on being the cigar of the year in the near future! Again, we appreciate the support from our customers and media partners, and thank you again for the smoking-hot ratings and feedback on the HC Series cigars.
 
In 2010, XIKAR will sponsor over 100+ events around the country, and I welcome customers and cigar aficionados to preview our events on-line. I am delighted that our XIKAR Team and retail partners are ready to fire up the "Cut One Smoke One Tour" next year. If you haven't attended a XIKAR event, please check the website for regular updates and visit your local retailers for a great smoke-out.

Sneak preview: The Professor is in the house...stay tuned for more details about XIKAR Product Training.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!festive berries
 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

October 2009 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
  October 2009
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,

We created the very first Xi cutter with more than just a great cigar cut in mind.  We created the first XIKAR while imagining all the great moments and adventures we'd have and the celebratory cigars we'd enjoy. 

XIKAR FOR LIFE is therefore more than a lifetime guarantee, it is a mantra that our products enhance all our life's adventures.

From our conversations over the years, it is very clear to me that we share the same taste for adventure.  Not content to wish or dream, we create our own real, unique adventures.  Whether that means a Tahoe ski trip with lifelong friends, a trophy Elk hunt in Colorado, a round at Pebble Beach or a 5-star restaurant in San Francisco the idea is the same: make it happen and enjoy every minute. 

With this in mind, I'm happy to share with you the details of our greatest adventure yet: a trip to Nicaragua to celebrate the success of the HC Series!  Read below for details and how to register at a XIKAR event around the country. THERE ARE 28 EVENTS LEFT FOR 2009, WITH MORE BEING ADDED EVERYDAY, SO CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!

This is just the first of MANY adventures we plan on taking with you, so please complete the survey below to help us plan the next XIKAR Adventure. 

And check out our new BodyArt cutters, cigar wallet and HC products for your next adventure.

Good luck!
 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

*Rules, regulations and restrictions apply.

September 2009 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
  September 2009
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,

The evening chill, the turning leaves and quickly setting sun are nature's signs of my favorite season.

But the most exciting signs of Fall are the raging campfires , the rockin' tailgate BBQs and playoff baseball. After all, what good is your favorite season if you don't enjoy it with your family, friends and a great cigar?! 

That is why we are throwing so many in-store event parties this Fall. You get the inside scoop on all our great new lighters, cutters and humidification accessories.  And we get to celebrate and share our highest rated cigars ever with you, our friends from all over this great country!  


Since we're having so much fun, we're keeping the XIKAR HC Series Events train moving full steam ahead!  Oh, and did I mention that one winner from each event will be entered in a 1 in 100 drawing to win an all expenses paid trip to Nicaragua and Honduras!*

For more information, check out the events page, find an event near you, then come party! After all, Fall's natural, shortened days remind us that life is too short to let a great cigar go un-smoked.

Hope to see you soon!


 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

*Rules, regulations and restrictions apply. Attend events for more.

August 2009 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
  August 2009
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,

The smoke has cleared and the show is over. Summer's end is at our feet but the fun has just begun. 

The cigar industry's biggest event, the IPCPR Show in New Orleans, was a great success. We introduced many ultra cool lighters, cutters, containers, humidification products and top scoring cigars.  We ran into old friends, met some new ones and enjoyed a cigar with all.  So what's next? 

The fun begins for you!  Every item we introduced is heading to your favorite retailer now.  And to usher in these great new accessories and celebrate the recent HC Series 92 Cigar Aficionado rating, we're throwing parties across the country!

Keep reading for the inside scoop on the cigar rating, our top new lighters for 2009, a contest I know you can win, and our first ever video for the 'ask the experts' section.  I think you'll enjoy.

Happy Smoking!

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

July 2009 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
July 2009
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,

"Time flies when you're having fun."  That saying is as true as everhere at XIKAR headquarters.  For the past few months we've been putting the final touches on the HC Series Cigar Collection launch, arguably our most anticipated creation in years. We've also been planning our new product showcase, including extremely cool and innovative accessories, for the cigar industry's biggest event this August: The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Show in New Orleans.  
 
So let's get down to business and give you the inside scoop on everything XIKAR, including a first look at some new accessories debuting in New Orleans, restaurant and cigar-friendly locations we'll be hitting in that great city, and then let's give you a chance to win some of those tasty HC Series Cigars at an in-store event near you!

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

June 2009 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
June 2009
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,

I've smoked some unforgettable cigars over the years, many from the world's top makers.  One smoke made for a relaxing solitary escape in my backyard last autumn.  Another turned a celebratory dinner in New York with friends into a four hour laugh down memory lane - my side still hurts when I think of that late night. 
 
Recently, one very special cigar became the most unforgettable cigar I have ever, or perhaps will ever, smoke...

To read the full story of Kurt's Corner, click here

April 2009 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
April 2009
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,
 Kurt Van Keppel, XIKAR President and Scott Almsberger, XIKAR Vice President
With the deepest heartfelt sadness, XIKAR said our final goodbyes to our colleague and great friend Paul Hernandez. Paul, who work with us for many years, passed away from complications related to sleep apnea March 12, 2009.

As one of our first sales representatives, and a building block of XIKAR, Paul was valued by me for his friendship, his advice, his humor and his help.  Paul was an integral member of the cigar business for more than the last decade, and will be sorely missed by everyone in the cigar community.

We of XIKAR offer our deepest condolences to Paul's family: his parents, his brothers Steve and Pete, his wife Carmen, and his son, Anthony.  Our prayers go out to them all.

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

February 2009 Newsletter

 
Xikar, Inc. The Latest News
FEBRUARY 2009
Kurt's Corner

Dear XIKAR Friends,
 Kurt Van Keppel, XIKAR President and Scott Almsberger, XIKAR Vice President
Everywhere we look, new themes for 2009 are emerging.  The economic theme will be stimulus and jobs.  Energy: independently green.  Business: cost cutting and efficiency.  Themes change from year to year, but here at XIKAR our theme NEVER changes. 
 
For over 12 years, we've built a brand on one theme: VALUE.   In everything we do, we aim to create value.  Products valuable to enhancing your smoke and most importantly, valuable enough to enjoy forever!   We believe all our actions, from design to warranty service, should bring value to you.  And you have shown your appreciation through your good business and support of this great community of cigar lovers.  Thank you. 

Last month we verified surprising news that our good competitor, The Colibri Group, shut down their operations. During these tough economic and market conditions, it is not impossible that even companies with solid brands and market presence may falter. And while we are glad that our product and service philosophies have helped make us the leading accessory brand, we certainly do not celebrate the demise of a good competitor.
 
If this recent news has left you questioning the life of your Colibri lighter warranty, print off this voucher and bring in your old Colibri for 20% OFF a XIKAR lighter at your local retailer.

Know that XIKAR is here to stay.  FOR LIFE.

 
PS: The theme for the anti-tobacco crowd in 2009: tax and legislate. Therefore, our theme must be freedom.  Recently, the President signed the SCHIP Tax into law, raising the cost of  cigars $0.40.  But the fight is just beginning.  Join us in the fight and ensure that 2009 is the year you protect your rights to enjoy a cigar.

Join the Defiance Alliance and the Cigar Rights of America!

>>>

Happy New Year,
Kurt Van Keppel

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