Day two is over, I’m sitting in my quiet hotel room with a respite from the exhausting rush around the floor and away from the cacophony of the casino floor. Reflecting about how this is my fifth IPCPR convention, I’ve noticed each year has somewhat of a theme for what people say about the show, or perhaps how it feels. For many years all people could talk about was how empty the trade show was, and then for a couple years with the FDA regulations looming, it was a very doom and gloom feeling that was exuded throughout the show.

This year is nothing like any other year I feel like so far. Attendance is said to be up a respectable 15 percent, yet the feeling of the show floor is that attendance is up way more than that. Booths are difficult to move around, you’re having to dodge more people in the aisles and manufacturers seem to be constantly with a client. Sure, I think the aisles might be slightly smaller and thus booths are closer together, and sure the show is in Vegas again, which is a much easier excuse for retailers to make for a trip somewhere. But regardless of what it is, this is the first year I haven’t heard anybody say “I can’t believe how empty it is” – which seems enough of an indicator in and of itself.

As for the FDA doom and gloom fog that has permeated the show for the last couple years, I’ve only had a couple of manufacturers really mention what’s going on and address the FDA problem head on. Most seem to be not mentioning it, which certainly takes away from the urgency and morose feeling that was there before. But whether or not the FDA is being mentioned or not, a resolute feeling fills the hall, one that—if I’m being honest—gives the show a more positive energy in the air than was there before.

Other than that, I’m always surprised at how few cigars I actually get the chance to smoke, though it should be no surprise to me since I am busy juggling a camera and notebook, while dragging a bag behind me everywhere.

So now it’s off to bed so I can wake up and do this all again tomorrow —which by the time you read this, I’ll probably already be out on the floor for round three.

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.

Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.