The Drew Newmanification of J.C. Newman seems more or less complete. While I don’t think Drew is done introducing major initiatives, the complete status seems earned as it’s difficult to imagine just about any of the new things J.C. Newman has on display at PCA 2023 being done if the company was being led only by Eric and Bobby Newman. I don’t think the booth would be made of cardboard, I don’t think there’d be a humidor using wood from an NBA game in the booth, I don’t think there’d be a podcast studio in the corner of the booth, and I don’t think the booth would be focused as much about El Reloj, the company’s Tampa headquarters and factory.
While El Reloj plays an important part in what makes J.C. Newman, I think most of the retailers at this show would be more interested in Diamond Crown, Quorum, Brick House and El Baton, the company’s big sellers. But Drew Newman wants to turn El Reloj into more than just a factory and headquarters, something that’s fully on display this year.
There’s one minor update to the company’s booth, which is a cardboard replica of the El Reloj factory. This year, there are some lights.
Earlier this year, Drew Newman told me that he was working on a project with the LeRoy Nieman Foundation for a new Tampa-made cigar. The end result is the LeRoy Neiman 2023 Collector’s Edition, a new cigar that uses Nieman’s “Irish-American Bar” as artwork. My favorite part of the concept is that the bottom of the box depicts the paint-covered floor of Nieman’s studio. After smoking the cigar, I found out there’s also a great quote on the inside of the secondary band. All of J.C. Newman and the foundation’s profits will be donated to support art programs at Tampa public schools.
This appears to be the first of what is likely to be an annual series. It is rolled at El Reloj in Tampa.
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano Rosado)
- Binder: U.S.A. (Florida Sun Grown)
- Filler: Nicaragua & U.S.A.
- LeRoy Neiman 2023 Collector’s Edition (6 x 52) — $20 (Box of 20, $400)
Production: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
Release Date: November 2023
This is the second year in a row that J.C. Newman has partnered with Brizard & Co. for a limited edition case for The American. For 2023, the cases use leather from a bison from Ted Turner’s Turner Bison Program in Montana.
Each case comes with three The American Robusto (4 1/2 x 50) cigars that have been aging since 2020.
Production: 350 Numbered Cases
Release Date: July 2023
The American Packaging Update
The American will soon come with a secondary band.
The American All-Star Humidor
These humidors are covered with the floor of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game, played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. J.C. Newman acquired an 8′ x 8′ section and has cut it up to make 40 humidors. The piece the company bought includes the three-point line.
Because this is an NBA-licensed product, many of the details are still getting worked out, including a finalized price. Expect it to be around $3,000.
Production: 40 Humidors
Release Date: November 2023
El Reloj Lego Set
This 201-piece Lego set is a model of J.C. Newman’s El Reloj factory in Tampa. While it might be only 201 pieces, it takes more than 30 minutes to assemble. Don’t ask me how I know. J.C. Newman will sell this at its gift shop in Tampa as well as its online store.
Here’s a picture of Drew Newman putting it back together in the booth. Again, don’t ask me how I know.
Release Date: July 2023
Arturo Fuente/J.C. Newman’s distribution company is handling the distribution of the latest sampler from Cigar Rights of America. In case you are unfamiliar, nine companies—the main benefactors of the CRA—donate the cigars, which are sold to consumers. The proceeds from these samplers are then used to fund CRA.
Three of the cigars (Oliva Serie V 8 x 52, Tatuaje 15th Anniversary Plus One Escasos, Padrón Black No. 52) are exclusive to the sampler.
- Ashton Symmetry Sublime
- Diamond Crown Black Diamond Emerald
- Fuente Fuente OpusX The Lost City Toro
- La Flor Dominicana Salomones
- My Father García & García Robusto Deluxe
- Oliva Serie V 8 x 52
- Oliva Serie V 135th Anniversary Edición Limitada
- Padrón Black No. 52
- Rocky Patel White Label Toro
- Tatuaje 15th Anniversary Plus One Escasos
While the CRA spent years trying to brand itself as a consumer organization akin to the NRA, its most tangible impact has been a nearly seven-year-old lawsuit, which it has helped fund. A year ago, the joint lawsuit filed by CRA and the other two cigar trade groups scored a major victory against FDA’s regulations of premium cigars. For that particular part of the lawsuit, the CRA paid the legal bill for Michael Edney, the lead attorney in the case.
Production: 2,000 Samplers
Release Date: August 2023
Toast Across America 2023
As the two companies do every year, Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman are selling Toast Across America packs to raise money for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which—amongst many other things—provides free K-12 schooling to students in Caribe, Dominican Republic. The Fuente and Newman families pay the operating costs for the charity, which means every dollar donated goes directly to the charitable efforts and not to the overhead.
A similar ethos is applied to the annual Toast packs. Fuente and J.C. Newman donate the cigars and the packaging, retailers buy the packs for $50 and Fuente and Newman ask the retailers to sell them for $50. The idea is that 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity.
For most of the last decade, the companies have used the Fuente Fuente OpusX Perfecxion No. 77 Shark and the Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Shark for these packs. This year, the packs are an absolutely disgusting Tar Heel blue color. #GoDeacs
Release Date: Fall 2023