Eddie Ortega’s crowdfunded cigar operation is nearing completion. With 13 days remaining, the project has reached 77 percent of its goal.

“I’m going to get around 100 people involved,” Ortega told halfwheel. Those 100 or so people will have a chance to pick the blend and size of a cigar made at My Father Cigars S.A. and the cigar will be given exclusively to those who are supporters of the projects.

Crowdfunding involves having multiple individuals pledge certain amounts, usually with various rewards offered for participation, in order to reach a certain goal. It is a virtual online pledge drive, but not necessarily for charities. Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been the two main sources of crowdfunding, but cigars present their own obstacles.

While crowdfunding breweries, distilleries, wine and a host of other alcohol projects are all allowed by Kickstarter, the largest crowdfunding base, tobacco is prohibited.

Ortega admitted that one of the largest obstacles to The Ortega Project was figuring out how to accept processing for the project. Given how difficult the approval process was, he said he’s open to allowing supporters to use the backend of the operation for other things such as accessories. 

Pledge levels start at $35 for a chance to get to sample the various test blends, vote on the final blend and a t-shirt. For $490 each, 15 people will get a four-day trip to Nicaragua to visit to Estelí, Nicaragua to visit My Father Cigars S.A.

Ortega hopes to have the cigars in the hands of supporters in November, but it will largely depend on how long the testing and feedback phase takes.

As of now, it will be a one-time run, but Ortega says that supporters will have an opportunity to produce a second batch if they like. 

This is not the first attempt at crowd-funding in the cigar business, last year Chicagoland Cigar Company unsuccessfully ran a campaign last year.

Ortega also said the Wild Bunch will not return in 2014.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.