May 30, 2012 (Estelí, Nicaragua) PENSA, or Puros De Esteli Nicaragua S.A., is J.C. Newman’s new 55,000 square foot factory located in the foothills of Esteli, Nicaragua. With the capacity to make over 25 million cigars per year, it is no small feat that this cigar factory is almost entirely green. Nearly all the utilities in the building are renewable. Rainwater is collected through chains from the roof and reused for cooling and sanitation. Fresh air is pulled into the factory though large fans and mixed with recycled water to cool the room and keep the cigars at just the right humidity. Foam insulation keeps the cooled air from escaping into the thick, tropical air outside. Large panels in the roof stretch the full length of the ceiling, allowing Nicaragua’s plentiful sunlight in and eliminating the need for artificial lighting except on the cloudiest of days. The mix of fresh air, natural light and an open floor concept means worker morale stays strong while the carbon footprint is considerably reduced. Employee health is a priority at the factory. A doctor is on staff everyday to service employees and their families. Bike racks located on the inside of the building give employees a greener and safer option than catching a ride to work or storing their bike on a fence outside the factory. Cleanliness is encouraged through the use of smocks and a full service sanitation crew. For photos of the factory please click HERE. The J.C. Newman Cigar Company has worked hard to create a safe, clean, environmentally friendly factory for not only the employees of PENSA, but for the residents of Esteli. PENSA currently handrolls Quorum, Quorum Shade, Alcazar and Hampton Arms. For more information about PENSA and the cigars made there, please visit www.jcnewman.com.

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 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.