Angels Grace Poker Run

Heavenly Cigar Co. helped sponsor the Key West Poker Run on Sept. 19-20th along with the Sunset Cigar Co. of Key West. An estimated 15,000 bikers rode from Miami to Key West, making five stops along the way and drawing a playing card at each stop. Several of Heavenly's "Angels" were positioned at the last stop and took photos with the participants. With each photo, a donation was made was to the event's charities, which in past years has included the Diabetes Research Foundation and The Key West Sunrise Rotary Club.

Lending a Heavenly Hand

The Heavenly Cigar Co. recently held a fundraising event at The Smoke Shop in Naples, Fla. to benefit the Danny Matteson Fund (www.helpdanny.com), which raised $800 for seven-year-old Englewood, Fla. resident Danny Matteson. Danny, who has has no medical insurance, has battled kidney failure from birth and is in dire need of a kidney transplant. The event helped to offset money stolen earlier this year from locally-placed donation boxes.

Puros Indios Newsletter Debuts

Miami - The first issue of The Wrapper Journal, Puros Indios Cigar's bimonthly company newsletter, debuts in December, 2003. It covers industry as well as company news, along with other features and columns of interest to the premium cigar world. "Puros Indios cigars have a wide and loyal following of retailers and cigar lovers," explains Carlos Diez, the company's director of marketing. "They have expressed interest in what's going on with Puros Indios - new products, upcoming rolling events, company personnel - and The Wrapper Journal is intended to satisfy their requests. We will also profile a different Puros Indios retailer in each issue, as well as including photos and stories on activities at our new factory, in Danli, Honduras."

The Wrapper Journal will be available for download from the company's Web site, www.purosindioscigars.com, or it can be received via e-mail. The Q&A column answers questions posted by readers on the company's site.

Court Slashes Republic Tobacco Judgement

Chicago - A court slashed the amount North Atlantic Trading Co. Inc. must pay in damages to Republic Tobacco L.P. by more than half, calling the original amounts in Republic Tobacco's defamation suit against NATC "excessive." North Atlantic Trading said it must now pay a total damage award of $7.44 million, rather than the $18.6 million decided in July.

The compensatory damages award was cut to $3.36 million and the award of punitive damages was reduced to $4.08 million by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Republic Tobacco, which makes roll-your-own tobacco brands Top, Drum and JOB, said that in 1998 it offered incentive and trade programs to its wholesale and retail customers. The court had previously ruled that North Atlantic, which distributes Zig-Zag brand tobacco and cigarette papers, made "false and disparaging remarks" about these programs and other practices. The jury assessed damages because these remarks damaged Republic's reputation in the industry, Republic Tobacco said in July.

Obituary: Ernst Arnold Ludwig André, 76

German cigar manufacturer Ernst Arnold Ludwig André, a limited partner of Arnold André GmbH & Co. KG in Bünde, Wesfalia, died June 14, 2003 at the age of 76. André managed and directed the company with an eye to the future, introducing many new and innovative ideas and leading it to the top of the German cigar industry. Founded in 1866, Arnold André moved from hand labored cigar making into an industrial manufacturer under André's direction, laying the foundation for several innovative, and highly modern factories.

André not only had a feeling for production techniques, but also for modern marketing methods and translating market trends into new concepts. Building on the overwhelming success of his Handelsgold brand which dominated the German market in the 1950s, André in 1973 launched the innovative Clubmaster cigarillo line in response to changing consumer habits. The brand remains the company's most successful line to date.

In light of increasing internationalization of the cigar markets, André in 1998 forged a cooperative agreement with the Dutch based cigar manufacturer EBAS, resulting in a successful partnership with Swedish Match.

SMOKESHOP - December, 2003