Ezra Zion Buys Nomad Cigar Co. (Update)

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Nomad Cigar Co. has new owners, as on Thursday, Fred Rewey announced that he has sold the company to Ezra Zion Cigar Co.

In a press release, Rewey said that over the seven years of Nomad’s existence that saw it go from one blend in one size to 16 blends and 46 SKUs, it also grew to new levels of responsibility, and while some aspects such as marketing, consumer interaction and cigar blending were enjoyable, other aspects weren’t, such as book keeping sales projections and government compliance.

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“Frankly, the company grew to a point that my attention was pulled in different directions and wearing unlimited hats,” Rewey said, adding that he always thought that could mean something needed for the business might be missed.

Rewey acknowledged that over the years, there had been numerous inquiries into a sale of Nomad, though he would only ever entertain the idea if he found someone who “not only understood the brand, its un-sacrificing core beliefs, but also the responsibility that comes with being boutique.”

“I have known Chris (Kelly) and Kyle (Hoover) with Ezra Zion for several years,” Rewey noted, as they were both under the Emilio Cigars and Boutiques Unified distribution umbrellas. “Although there will be many more details coming out over the next several days, I can say that I feel confident not only in them taking Nomad Cigar Company to the next level, but also preserving what has brought it to this point.”

Kelly confirmed the transaction to halfwheel on Thursday, adding that a statement about the transaction and the plans for the brand was forthcoming. That announcement came Friday morning, with a reassurance for fans of Nomad cigars that they will continue to be available from retail brick and mortar shops, and while business operations are being transferred to Ezra Zion, existing Nomad accounts can continue to order from their existing sales reps. Once the handoff is completed, Nomad’s brands will distributed nationally by TX Distribution, which is owned by Ezra Zion and operates from their warehouses in Alvord, Texas.

Ezra Zion did make mention of unveiling the “new Nomad” to the public soon, which they said will likely be a home for products that wouldn’t be best served under the Ezra Zion name. “We’ve got some very special blends just waiting to be released—really next level stuff,” Hoover said, adding that there will be limited offerings released under the Nomad brand.

“We’d like an outlet for our more edgy and experimental stuff—both in terms of cigar making and also art concepts,” Kelly said. “There are some ideas that we feel might not exactly fit as an Ezra Zion release. Nomad gives us the chance to color outside the lines.”

Rewey said that despite the sale, his commitment and dedication to the cigar industry has not changed. “I plan on remaining in some capacity that not only fits my skill set but also my passion to smoke cigars,” he said in the announcement. Rewey was not immediately available for comment as to what that might mean, though in addition to Nomad, he operates an online marketing company called Exposure One and has launched a book and online project called Be The Lime, which is described as finding ways for an individual, brand or company to be unique and stand out from the competition.

Update (Sept. 14, 2018) — Ezra Zion Cigar Co. issued a press release on Friday morning; quotes from the company have been added to the original story, which was published on Thursday afternoon.


The full text of the email sent out on Thursday is below:

Orlando, Florida (September 13, 2018)
[Open Letter from Fred Rewey, Founder of Nomad Cigar Company]

When I started Nomad in 2012, I had no idea where it would go. I was just another cigar enthusiast with an eagerness to learn more about the process in a hands-on fashion.

In my case, with an extensive marketing background, the creation of Nomad was never about money, it was a labor of love and passion for cigars. It meant checking the ego at the border and spending time in the fields and factories learning all I could.

In seven years Nomad grew to a level beyond my expectations. What started with one blend and one size has grown to 16 blends and 46 SKUs.

With that growth came numerous areas of responsibility.

Instead of an exclusive focus on marketing, first-hand interaction with consumers, and blending cigars (the parts I love), it turned into bookkeeping, sales projections, and government compliance.

Frankly, the company grew to a point that my attention was pulled in different directions and wearing unlimited ‘hats’. Which, in the back of my mind, could someday equate to something being missed.

I never cut any corners with Nomad. I never left anything on the table and kept quality as the highest priority…well below bottom line profits.

Working with some of the best factories and true Master blenders took my knowledge to levels I never would have predicted. Along the way I have made friends that will last a lifetime.

Over the last several years, there were numerous inquiries into my willingness (or not) to sell Nomad. If I was to ever entertain the idea, it had to be to someone that not only understood the brand, its un-sacrificing core beliefs, but also the responsibility that comes with being boutique.

I have known Chris and Kyle with Ezra Zion for several years. Worked side-by-side with them when we were together at Emilio Cigars [now Boutiques Unified]. Although there will be many more details coming out over the next several days, I can say that I feel confident not only in them taking Nomad Cigar Company to the next level, but also preserving what has brought it to this point.

I thank all the Nomad retailers, consumers, and other manufacturers that have been so supportive all these years – I couldn’t have done it without you.

All in all it has been an amazing seven years and I look forward to what the future will bring.

As for me, my commitment and dedication to the cigar industry has not changed. I plan on remaining in some capacity that not only fits my skill set but also my passion to smoke cigars.

Sincerely,

Fred Rewey

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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