September 15, 2011 — Ares (AH-res) Contreras, founder and president of Pride Cigars, Inc., offers his new 809 value-priced premium cigar line, in time for holiday gift-giving. Contreras, a third-generation Cuban-American tabacalero, is in his fourth year of operation, specializing in boutique premium cigars.
The 809 line consists of one of the broadest choices of cigars in the industry, including multiple shapes, wrapper shades, and blends. A rarity in the industry, Contreras created the 809 as both a hand-made long filler cigar (Black band), and the hand-rolled medium-filler Red band. Both fall into the value-priced category … suggested retail pricing for the long-filler Black band tops out at $2.50, while the medium-filler Red band retails for up to $1.60.
Four 809 wrappers are available in both Black and Red labels: A mild and silky Connecticut-seed leaf, which is “shade-grown” under Ecuador’s prevailing high, thin overcast skies; a mild-to-medium Sumatran; a medium-to-full, red-hued Corojo; and, a naturally-fermented full-power, but mellow, Maduro.
According to Contreras, “The filler blends and binders vary, depending on the wrapper used. Pride Cigars’s main thrust is focused on boutique premium cigars, so the tobaccos we use for 809 are the same extra-select tobaccos … both the Black and Red. As such, 809’s performance and quality surpass those of many top-flight premium hand-made cigars.”
809 Black is offered in Robusto (5″ x 50), Corona (5-1/2″ x 43), Churchill (7″ x 48), Torpedo (6″ x 52), Toro (6″ x 52), Corona Gorda (5-1/4″ x 52), and Grand Toro (6″ x 60), which Contreras describes as “suited perfectly to large-cigar fanciers, looking for a lot of cigar for not a lot of money.” 809 Red includes all these shapes, except for the 6″ x 60 Grand Toro. The cigars are cellophane-tubed and presented in bundles of 20. Combined with their striking bands, Contreras describes the packaging as “eye-pleasing, conspicuous in the humidor, and creating the impression of a higher-quality product than their modest pricing would indicate. But, with the extra-select tobacco and craftsmanship that goes into the 809 lineup, the cigars hold up to smokers’ expectations.”
Contreras supports his retailers through consumer advertising in Cigar Snob magazine, as well as a comprehensive publicity campaign to draw consumers to smoke shops.
All Pride cigars are made in the Dominican Republic, in the Pride Cigars-owned factory. As Contreras explains, “I personally oversee everything, from selecting the perfect tobaccos for our blends, to working alongside our master blender and production manager. That assures me the finished product meets the uncompromising standards my Cuban heritage demands. So, I know 809 will meet those of our valued customers.” When asked the significance of the name “809,”Contreras smiles and says, “Simple … it’s the telephone country code for the Dominican Republic.”