Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cigar Fest - Is Cigars International Making a Big Buck?


I have heard some chatter about Cigar Fest and how Cigars International is making big bank on it. There seems to be a common opinion that they are just raking in the money through both the auctions for the early session as well as having expanded the festival to two days instead of one. A few thousand tickets each day at $100+ a piece… plus sales at the event… plus… yeah, you get the picture as to how that can add up rather quickly. And yet, if you think Cigars International is making a lot of money on this, you couldn’t be more wrong.

One of the major things that doesn’t get a lot of publicity is that the money generated from Cigar Fest goes to charity. That’s right – ticket sales, any sales the day of the event, and even the raffles are all done in the name of charity. That’s thousands of dollars that are being taken in that immediately gets turned around and put to a good cause. In fact, going a step further, throwing this event actually costs Cigars International money. They take care of ticket administration, have to supply the people to be able to run the event, set up the convention center the way it needs to be, etc. That’s a lot of man hours that they are paying for from their own pockets.

So why even throw the event if it’s going to end up costing you money? There are some simple logical conclusions you can draw here.  
  • Any kind of charitable donations give you some nice tax breaks. Cigars International gets tax breaks too you know.
  • The positive publicity of the event has people talking about it months after the event is held and the talk ramps up months before the next year’s event.
  • Cigar Fest brings in some major players in the cigar industry, which helps Cigar International’s relations with them in the long run.

Taking aside the corporate reasoning, there is one other major reason - it’s a thank you to the many customers of Cigars International. It’s their way of passing on the goodness. Honestly speaking, where can you get 60+ cigars, an ash tray, humidor, cutter, posters, liquor, beer, BBQ lunch, etc while being able to meet some of the guys who put together your favorite blends for $150 or less? Nowhere. It really is a treat to be able to attend. If you ever get the chance to attend – do it. You will get tons of awesome swag while helping to give money to charity.

FYI – I am in no way affiliated with Cigars International, it’s simply my B&M.




(Just wanted to show 4 of the metal posters that I recieved last year at Cigar Fest)

A quick edit for you - it was asked what charity CI donates to. In the past few years they have been donating to LifePath - http://www.lifepath.org/aboutus.html. The charity is located in the Lehigh Valley and was set up for helping those with special needs.

6 comments:

  1. how much are the posters

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  2. They're free with admission. You can get a plain copy, or signed by the artist.

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  3. Just a clarification on ticket sales: 100% goes to the charity. Last year they gave $55000! I was there this year and I would imagine proceeds going even higher! The amount of free stuff you get FAR outweigh the ticket cost... so they definitely have little if any profit out of it. Le the author said: it's 1 part charity event, 1 part exposure for them AND the vendors (leading to long term profit), and all parts a helluva great time!

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  4. This was my first Cigarfest and i will be back...what a great time of meeting other cigar lovers from everywhere while picking up a bunch of nice sticks and some swag....knowing the proceeds went to charity is the icing onthe cake. Hats off to CI for hosting this wonderful event.

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  5. Two thoughts: (1) I wish CI would tone down its over-the-top marketing strategy, as personified by banner above of the unshaven, douchey-looking guy screaming as he holds a bundle of cigars and wears a cigar-themed ballcap. For me, cigars are about relaxation and taking a break, not hanging out with some drunken wannabe frat boy who wants to post pictures of himself with a giant smoke in his mouth on FB. I could also do without four emails a day telling me about the latest "chunktastic" deal on some cigar I've never heard of, but which I'm supposed to believe normally sells for $1200 a box;
    (2) what is their obsession with Gurkha? I hardly ever see more than one or two varieties of Gurkha in cigar shops, but CI is constantly pushing seemingly hundreds of Gurkha varieties at supposedly massive discounts (my favorite is the five-pack that they claim normally sells for like $180, but they'll let you have it for only $10).

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    1. Well it's tough to say what the marketing strategy is, but for them it's working. Ci is the largest cigar retailer in the world. They may be over the top sometimes, but they gotta have fun and enthusiastic. Almost all of my time, personally, is smoking alone or with friends and family just bullshitting.

      As for Gurkha, I don't know what to tell ya. Some people love em and most people that I know hate em. Regardless, everyone has their own preference. Ci might get some kind of kickback or marketing money from them for samplers that they sell. The good thing is, as the consumer, is that you can ignore them and purchase what you want. Happy smoking, hopefully you at least enjoy some of our reviews. My brother and I just do it for fun as a hobby.

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