It’s the 4th of July. I’m smoking my third and fourth racks of ribs on the patio. And I just put out my 8th cigar of the weekend, a Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro (looking probable to make it to double digits before my night is up and I take in some Independence Day fireworks with friends and family tonight). So, with a weekend like that, I’ve started to wax a little poetic and I wanted to take a moment to, not only make an announcement, but also to say thanks. I wanted to say thanks to our sponsors, to Sean and Harris at The Cigar Cafe, to the unofficial social media crew on Twitter and Instagram who are constantly posting and retweeting pics and reviews of stellar cigars and to our listeners who keep the show going. When we started doing the podcast last February, it was totally sold as an experiment and I don’t think any of us had any idea that it was going to take off like it has. And, really, as a grown up fat kid who is cooking ribs on the patio, I couldn’t be happier with how the show has developed and continues to develop.

Aside from the occasional cigar review and the time I spend on the show with Sean and Harris, I actually spend most of my days doing IT work. It is mostly only legend that puts me on the Florida Gulf Coast MOST days, at least for now. It gets brought up on the show from time to time, but it bears repeating that, by trade, I haven’t historically worked in the cigar industry. I happen to be an average guy, with a smart mouth, who likes cigars and BBQ and I caught a really lucky break doing content for a website about an industry I’ve grown to love. In the meantime, I’ve managed to become affiliated with a great local Brick and Mortar cigar retailer with Harris and Cigars and More (and Vitola Fine Cigars, of course). I’ve managed to talk to and hang out with some great names in the cigar industry, from traditional to boutique brands and just about everywhere in between. And I’ve been given the opportunity to attend the IPCPR 2016 trade show of the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers later this month. The show is the largest premium cigar trade show every year and, this year, it’s hosted at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas from July 24 – 28.

IPCPR 2016

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be doing a series of blog posts on the site about my experience at IPCPR 2016. Stay tuned for articles about my first impressions once I arrive on the show floor at Vegas, quotes from owners of your favorite cigar brands about upcoming changes to the cigar industry and cigar reviews for yet unreleased sticks that will be released during and after the show.

There have been a handful of moments that really stand out to me as breakthroughs with my work with The Cigar Cafe. Being asked to host the podcast, smoking cigars on a rooftop bar patio with Rocky Patel and, now, attending the trade show are three of the biggest opportunities I’ve seen. Other than being exposed to a crazy assortment of cigars I probably wouldn’t have smoked if not for the show, I’ve developed lasting friendships with Harris and Sean over the last 18 months or so and I appreciate them trusting me with the responsibility of covering the goings on at the annual event.

Keep an eye out, not just at the site, but also at our social media accounts for a real time look at our experiences at the IPCPR 2016 trade show. You can follow me at @MagicCityBurn on Twitter or Instagram. Harris posts for the show at @cigar411 on Twitter and @thecigarcafe on IG. And Sean is at @seankav1 on Twitter and @seank89 on IG. We’re all constantly talking a bunch of trash and posting pics of whatever we and the friends of the show happen to be smoking. Odds are, we’ll follow you back, retweet your own cigar porn, comment and make sure you know we appreciate the time you put into following the show. And, really, if you’re taking the time to read this article, even only if it’s because the title mentions IPCPR, thanks for helping make the site and the show what they are. FDA regulations and SCHIP taxes aside, we really do live in some pretty favorable cigar times right now.

by Lane Oden

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