At the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show, Cubariqueño Cigar Company – the venture of Juan Cancel and Bill Ives will showcase its first release, Protocol. After selling the first small batch run of 5,000 cigars to select retailers in New Jersey, the company will do a slightly increased second run (6,000 cigars), and has plans to open 20 accounts.
Protocol, which was originally released in May consists of a Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper with a Nicaraguan Habano binder and a unique filler blend consisting of quadruple Nicaraguan Ligero from Estelí and Jalapa. The cigars were launched in two sizes – a 5 5/8 x 46 Corona Gorda and a 6 x 52 Toro. The cigar is being produced at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory.
“With the success of Protocol it’s a natural progression to be at the show,” says Cubariqueño Cigar Company co-owner Bill Ives. Ives goes further to say, “We figured we would have these (Protocols) to smoke for the rest of our lives but not the case. The entire first production run of 5,000 cigars sold in about two months with no advertisements, just us on social media. Our next production has been made and is aging at La Zona as we speak for show orders. I am so excited at the response. I am looking forward to taking this cigar to the show and getting it in more hands and shops. The journey isn’t always roses, but all the time and energy being involved with cigars in one way or another I hope will pay off. My life revolves around cigars.”
Cancel, the other co-owner said, “We are very excited. Being with Erik Espinosa at the show is a blessing. I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Erik and cannot imagine or want to do this with any other cigar manufacturer. Erik has been instrumental in making this dream a reality and allowing us to turn this love and passion for cigars into something real and tangible to share with other fellow cigar smokers. I am excited to see what the future holds for Cubariqueño Cigar Company. I am sure about one thing, with La Zona as our home it will be a bright future!”
The second run is showing the company is taking a patient approach to its growth. “We are still a baby in this industry and that is the most that the two of us can handle now,” said Ives and Cancel.