For a company that had no new products to show, Tabacalera El Artista drew a large crowd of people on Thursday afternoon. The reason? David Ortiz.

The former baseball player made an appearance at the booth to sign autographs, take pictures, and of course, promote the cigar bearing his name that came out last fall, Big Papi by David Ortiz.

I had the opportunity to speak with Ortiz about cigars after he had signed a good number of autographs and posed for photographs, and it’s clear he has a passion for cigars. He said that he’s always been a cigar smoker and has really enjoyed getting to see more of the process. In specific, he mentioned that his favorite part of the cigar making process is when the tobacco comes in from the field and goes into the curing barns, and he enjoys not just the history of cigars, but how they can bring him right into the present moment.

As for cigars, the company is continuing to promote Big Papi as well as another release from last year’s show, El Pulita. The cigar honors both the 60th anniversary of the company, as well as company founder Ramón “Pulita” Rodriguez. Here’s Ram Rodriguez talking a bit more about the cigar:

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
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Patrick Lagreid

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, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.