There is a constant flow of information, insights, and, perhaps most delightfully, solutions, so you can watch it on your own time or listen to it as you smoke a cigar this week. The sincerity of the discussion piqued my interest. To their credit, hosts Bob Pecorini and Frank Minutillo made no bones about the fact that 90% of their current smoking habits involve premium brands. They both said, “We don’t really smoke the big guys, we know what they’re about — we want something fresh, and we’re always amazed at how many new and excellent cigars there are out there,” voicing the thoughts of many people.
We haven’t even gotten to the biggest announcement yet, which should give you an idea of how interesting the appearance was. The biggest piece of information to come out of the exhibition was that plans are already being made for a Boutique Cigar Festival to be held in Florida next year by the Boutique Cigar Association of America. When you consider that the 2022 festival was held only last weekend, this is a tremendous deal.
We don’t know everything, but we do know a few things, and more information will be coming out in the next few weeks. Considered for the event is a 400-acre site with oceanfront access. The Association’s seven-person executive board is responsible for making arrangements for at least 500 attendees and exhibitors by prioritizing proximity to transportation hubs and other key amenities.
Considering the BCAA doesn’t have a dedicated outreach team, it’s impressive how quickly the organization has been able to establish a tradition of annual gatherings. The breadth of the hiring effort is Let them know that you want to join this movement. Everyone participating owns their own business and has other responsibilities like the rest of us, but they still find time to devote to the Association and the primarily family-owned businesses it represents.
It appears that the industry as a whole has reaped the benefits of all of those hours of labor. The BCAA has a lot more to offer the cigar community than can be presented in the span of a few days at a festival. The Association’s founding physician, Dr. Kafie, made medical analogies to explain some of the Association’s goals. This is a perspective I had never thought about before, but it makes perfect sense. Doctors and other healthcare workers must regularly update their knowledge and skills through seminars and other forms of continuous education. To apply this to the world of boutique cigars, the BCAA hopes to host events for its members in a similar vein, and with the PCA as a partner, it will be able to open up these opportunities to referred non-members as well. If service is improved generally, everyone benefits, particularly the customers who will return for more of the same.
Cathy Poturny was hired as a consultant for the Association last year, and her vision for the Association’s educational resources includes everything from the fundamentals of barcoding cigars to the best point-of-sale system, understanding intellectual property, branding and design, and the most efficient methods of marketing. As a trade group, the BCAA’s ultimate goal is to supply boutique businesses with the resources they need to thrive. If they keep up the good work, the Association’s best advertisements will be the many businesses who break out of the “boutique” category and help those behind them along the way by sharing their knowledge, contacts, and success strategies. We encourage you to join BCA’s mailing list for monthly updates and invitations on future cigar events.