PASSION - COMMITMENT - LOVE - RESPECT
The most frequently asked question we get is “how did you guys get started?”. It’s a great question especially considering the mix of folks who make up CZ Cigars. None of us are wealthy “Tycoons”. None of us have a 100 year history of making cigars, and in fact we are just a bunch of service related guys who enjoy the pastime of fine cigars and are no different than you. The simple answer is The Back Porch! In mid-summer of 2011 Nick and Bryan were sitting on Nick’s back porch smoking a cigar and enjoying bourbon. This was a frequent activity for us and one that we enjoyed as it gave us time to decompress from work, family, and other issues. It also allowed us time to enjoy and try different cigars and bourbons and just generally shoot the sh*t so to speak.
On this particular occasion Nick and Bryan were talking bands and music. Bryan is the lead vocalist and back up guitar player for the Denver Metal band Core Zero. Nick invested a lot of time with the band and helped the band with graphics and programming and sound mixing for shows. Nick was basically the silent sixth member of Core Zero and without him Core Zero would’t be what it is today. Back to the story. We were discussing music and the band and the future. An idea arose from the pillars of smoke. It went a little like this: “wouldn’t it be cool if we could come up with a cigar for the band”? We started discussing how cool it would be to start a cigar line based on the band and then expanding it from there. The only problem was we had no idea how to make it happen.
This was a topic that was frequently visited in our discussions for the following months. Shortly thereafter, Bryan attended the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival sponsored by Smoker Friendly in Boulder Colorado. Bryan went to the event with Justin, Dan, and Greg who had no idea that they were about to be principle members in a cigar manufacturing company. While at the event the guys had the opportunity to sit in the VIP section as various manufacturers were showcased with a meet and greet for the cigar festival public. During that afternoon Bryan and the boys had the opportunity to have lengthy discussions with Matt Booth (of Room 101 fame) and Jonathan Drew of Drew Estates. Both guys were very down to earth and we had lengthy discussions with them about their lines of cigars and how they got there.
After the enjoyable evening was over Bryan started to put together a mental framework of how we could make this idea turn into a reality. Bryan and Nick continued discussions that eventually culminated with the idea of CZ Cigars, Inc. Following the advice of Matt Booth, Nick and Bryan began attending local cigar events at various lounges and started to network with the consumers, manufacturers, and retailers at the events. At that time Bryan was almost a daily fixture at the local Aurora Smoker Friendly lounge where he would take his lunch break from duty time as a police sergeant to grab a cigar and talk with other aficionados from the community.
During that time Bryan was able to get to know the great staff of the lounge and also through blind chance meet a few folks who set CZ Cigars on the right path. Enter in Donna. Donna and her husband Larry(CRA ambassador) were both heavily involved in the local cigar community and brought great ideas and experience to the table. Donna had recently ended her employment with Mob Cigars and was excited for a new opportunity. Initial inquiries were begun on finding a factory that could make our dream a reality. After much sampling and discussion with various manufacturers and factories we were lucky enough to contact a manufacturer that was connected with a large and prestigious factory and cigar family. As odds would have it he was also a former cop who had left the force in the Chicago area to pursue his family’s business.
Bryan and Nick took a trip to Tampa Florida, home of the famous Ybor city, and met with David and discussed putting the company and product line together. After much thought, time, and consideration, CZ Cigars was officially filed as a business with the State of Colorado in March of 2012. We were very happy to have the access to the factory and family we were getting to know and we started working on the first line of cigars. At the same time we decided that with the down economy we wanted to try to avoid getting into a lot of debt so we decided to open up the new company to investors.
What we were looking for were other service related folks who shared our love for cigars as well as our ethics and dedication to our community. We accepted several small investments from other police officers and military folks who were eager to pursue the same dream that we were. That was the time that Dan and Justin (both police officers) were officially added to the rolls of CZ Cigars, closely followed by Charlie who is a current serving 1st Lieutenant and Battalion staff officer in the Army National Guard. Charlie was also Bryan’s partner when they both worked for Kansas City Missouri PD in the late 90’s.
Next up…the cigars themselves. In the process of getting to our blends we sampled hundreds of cigars from a variety of countries and factories. Let me tell you, I’ve never had so many bad cigars in my life! (there were lots of good ones too) We also hosted a tasting party at the Aurora Smoker Friendly Lounge to get consumer input for our line and to hear for ourselves exactly what consumers were looking for in a good cigar.
Once we were introduced to David however we knew that we had found the quality of product that we needed along with the right personalities and commitment to move forward. Our first task was to select what type of cigar to make. We each had our personal preferences. Bryan was a Maduro fan, Nick a medium fan, and Dan and Justin were more of the milder smoke preference. We decided in the best interest of the company to create cigars that would be appealing to the majority of cigar smokers as oppose to a small niche group. After narrowing down our blends to a few Connecticut, Maduro, Habano, and Sumatra blends, we decided to go with a mild cigar with a Sumatra wrapper. We also wanted to have a second offering in our first line that was medium to full body smoke and employed a Maduro wrapper. After the criteria were set we selected a wonderful Sumatra wrapper and blend for our mild cigar, and an amazing tasting Maduro wrapper blend for our medium to full smoke. Both blends were made with Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers and binders which gave us just the taste we were looking for.
Next up was what to call them. Sounds simple but put when put into practice not so much! There are thousands of options and ideas and after much discussion we decided to name the individual blends after Rock music genres. This made total sense as the Core Zero line was founded based on a Metal band. For our lighter offering we decided on the “Indie” as indie rock is seen as a mellow and melodic music genre. For the Maduro we knew the “Metal” was calling! This seemed especially appropriate given the heavier strength of the blend and the band it was based on. From there it was pure mechanics as we arranged production of the cigars, bands, boxes, and brand.
The final issue for the line was price. For most of us a 10-12 dollar (and up) cigar is for special occasions and not a daily item that we consume. We are essential working class folks and so wanted a working class price for our product so that other people like us could enjoy them without breaking the bank. We also wanted a great value in our cigar so that working folks could appreciate the quality and flavor of a 12 dollar cigar at around a 6-8 dollar price point. In short, we wanted a cigar line that you could enjoy from the golf course to the Lounge, to a night out with the boys (and gals). With both the Indie and Metal lines we feel we have achieved just that! We are very excited about our product and hope that you enjoy the flavor and craftsmanship as much as we do and as much as we enjoy making them for you!
CZ Cigars is proud to introduce our new line of premium hand made cigars. All of our tobacco is aged a minimum of three years before blending and undergoes the highest quality assurance measures in the industry. In this first offering we have two lines, with more to come in the near future.
All of our cigars are hand made, using the highest quality tobacco. All our tobacco has been aged at least three years before it is rolled into one of our premium blends
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