Interview with PDR National Sales Manager Robbie Strietz.
Lane: Welcome everyone to the holiday edition of Cigar Cafe Radio. We have a special guest today, Robbie Strietz. Thanks for joining us!
Robbie: Thanks for having me.
Harris: Tell us about the AFR-75. I’ve smoke a few and really enjoyed them.
Robbie: I love the AFR-75. It is made in our factory by only 4 rollers, very limited production. The price range is $12-$16. It has a San Andres wrapper with Connecticut Broadleaf filler. It’s like a well balanced and smooth courvoisier.
Sean: I want some!
Sean: How were the rollers chosen to make this cigar?
Robbie: They are the best of the best. The blender is an artisan to the craft.
Sean: Very interesting synergy and relationship
Robbie: It’s a relationship like an offensive and defensive coordinator in football.
Harris: Robbie, tell us about what makes PDR different from other cigar companies.
Robbie: Processing tobacco is key for us. Abe Flores (owner of PDR) is the head coach. He knows the tobacco we have inside and out. He has an amazing attention to detail. One time Abe decided to pull the wrappers off our new IPCPR release two weeks before the show. He just felt like it was not ready. He’s like a brewmaster in a brewery.
Robbie: In 2008 there was a mini depression in the cigar industry. Many manufacturer’s chose to chase the $5 cigar. I feel like it cheapened the craft and the industry. It was a sad time.
Lane: My soft ceiling for a cigar is $16
Robbie: You need to understand your wheelhouse. I smoked an Arturo Fuente Shark #77 recently and didn’t love it.
Sean: Undercrown vs. Liga T52 & 9
Robbie: The PDR Core line is 3-4 year aged tobacco. The Premium lines from PDR are aged 7+ years (AFR-75 and Series Privada)
Sean: Tell us about vertical integration and what that means at PDR.
Robbie: We are totally vertically integrated. from seed to sales reps to shelf.
Robbie: Our key is in the processing. That is what makes us different.
Cigar Aficionado Top 25 2015
Harris: I feel like there were a lot of things left out. How was Camacho Barrel Aged not on there?
Lane: Misses include: Liga 9 (T52 is better), Rocky Patel Edge, Nub Cameroon by Oliva.
Robbie: The Cigar Aficionado Top 25 does a great job of raising awareness. I don’t always agree with it though.
Sean: Robbie, What cigars outside of PDR do you like?
Robbie: I’m a cigar geek. I like Larranja by Espinosa. Loved Decrossier and Long Live the King by Caldwell Cigar Co.
Sean: Any new projects in the works?
Robbie: We are working on a small batch project called Connecticut Valley Reserve. Only 450 boxes per size. It will be a seasonal release once a year like the Anejo shark from Fuente. The first release sold out.
Lane: How far out does PDR start working on releases for next year.
Robbie: We start the day after the IPCPR ends.