I’ll be the first person to admit that last year, at my first trade show from the manufacturers side, I was totally caught off guard. For the first time, I understood the debate about bloggers being at the show. This year I was more prepared and was able to help out in all my duties. I wrote sales, met with vendors, and most importantly I connected with some old friends in the blogging community as well as making new friends. From my position within the company, it is safe to say the show was a success.
Prior to the first day of the show being open for business, I attended a seminar on the FDA and the cigar industry. We have all heard about the threat of involvement by the government agency, and to date nothing has happened. But after listening to members of IPCPR, Troutman-Sanders, CRA and the representative from Florida, Bill Posey the question wasn’t will the FDA get involved, it was when will the FDA get involved. This is a potential fight that can cripple the cigar industry from the manufacturing side, distribution side and the retail side. It will limit how cigar smokers can get their sticks, where they can smoke them, and how tobacco is advertised. If you haven’t gotten involved, please do so.
The booth build this year seemed to go smoother than last year, and the one year I attended in New Orleans as a friend of Miami Cigar. Instead of scrambling the last-minute, we were done with plenty of time to spare. The entire sales team pitched in as they arrived and when we were done we had time to rest before our company dinner at a place called Aquaknox. While the reviews at the table were mixed (who orders steak at a seafood restaurant anyway?), the seared Yellow Fin Tuna I had was one of the best meals I ever had. The food was so incredible that I requested to thank the chef personally for such a memorable meal. If you like seafood, and are in Vegas I recommend this place.
After dinner a few of us made our way to the Laguna Champagne Bar on the floor of the Palazzo casino. It was here that I made friends with Alyssa who after that first night knew my order and had it ready for me each of the following nights. We drank with friends, new and old and laughed into the early hours of the morning. In Vegas, there are no clocks and one easily loses track of time especially after your phone dies.
Thankfully, each day our booth was crowded from the first hour of the show, until the last minutes of the day. At 4:30 the crowd started to develop around the booth for our tradition of Presidente and this year, La Aurora Rum. It was great to put some away and share stories of the day, and rehash old stories. I think the story of me getting married in the Dominican Republic was easily told a half-dozen times.
A special thanks go out to Cigar Assessor, Cigar Coop, Cigar Events, Cigar Vixen, Half Wheel, Las VegASH TV, Leaf & Grape, My Cigar Girl, Robby Ras Reviews, and Stogie Review for stopping by the booth. Bloggers are an important part of our industry and you all do a fantastic job. I look forward to seeing you all again.
Here are some videos and photos from our time in Las Vegas…