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Santiago, Dominican Republic — PROCIGAR, the Association of the Dominican Cigar Manufacturers, celebrates its eighth annual Procigar Festival. 

The world-renowned Procigar members were proud to host the eighth annual Procigar Festival where over 300 guests from more than 20 countries were welcomed. Attendees included suppliers, retailers, consumers and industry associates that 
gathered to celebrate the Procigar Festival at the Dominican Republic – the Cigar Country. 

The festival started on February 15th in the illustrious Casa de Campo, La Romana, where Tabacalera de García hosted cigar lovers to the country and guided them through their facilities. While in La Romana, guests had the option to relax before the main part of the program by taking a catamaran ride to Catalina Island, or simply enjoying time at Casa de Campo. 

On Tuesday, February 17th, guests headed to Santiago, the “heart of Cigar Country,” for three days, where they were able to partake in guided tours of Quesada, La Aurora, General Cigar, Tabacalera La Palma, Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, De Los Reyes Cigars, Tabacalera La Alianza, La Flor Dominicana and Davidoff factories and tobacco fields. Attendees were also able to choose from other exciting activities while in Santiago, including the 4th annual Procigar Poker Tournament with proceeds to local Charity, merengue lessons, a tour of the Brugal Rum Factory, a beach day at Blue Jack Tar Hotel, among others. Also there was a seminar a paring beers with cigars was held by Ben Vinken, a beer sommelier and cigar expert from Belgium. 

A wonderful goodie bag was been given to all festival guests with a retail price of approximately US$240.00, including the festival special edition cigar box, beautiful ashtray, cigar accessories, polo shirt, hat and others promotional items. 

A welcome white attire dinner took place at Santiago’s Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración on Wednesday, February 18th, where all Procigar members presented either a new, limited or a special cigar to all the guests: Tabacalera de García – Montecristo Grupo de Maestro, De Los Reyes – Saga Golden Age Coffee Break, Quesada – Quesada Cigars Special blend, La Aurora - La Aurora Reserva Royal – Robusto Edición Exclusiva S.M.D. Juan Carlos I, Tabacos Quisqueyanos, S.A. – Juan Clemente Demi Tasse, Tabacalera La Flor Dominicana – 1994 Maduro, General Cigar – Blend 715, Tabacalera La Alianza – E.P.Carrillo 5th Aniversario, Tabacalera Palma – Tabacalera Palma 79th Anniversary, Tabadom Holding – Davidoff Year of the Sheep and Tabacalera Fuente – FFOX Lost City. After this wonderful evening guests enjoyed the nice atmosphere with a local jazz band of Patricio Bonilla and the best local DJ in town, DJ Poche. 

On Thursday February 19th a traditional welcome dinner was held at Los Jardines Cabrera Vidal where all the guests had the chance to taste local cuisine and win a merengue contest, where the winner had the chance to choose 100 cigars from any of the cigar brands manufactured by the Procigar members. 

The closing ceremony was celebrated at the Centro Español, a private Spanish Club in Santiago. Here guests delighted a delicious dinner and an exciting show with live music of Rafelito Mirabal and an after party with a fusion electronic violinist, Militza Iankova. A very special moment was when all the members of Procigar surprised their own President Hendrik Kelner with a well-deserved recognition for his 45 years in the cigar industry. Also the company Arnold André was presented as a new passive member. This event culminated with an auction of special products benefiting the Voluntariado de Jesús con los Niños and the Hospicio San Vicente de Paúl, non-profit organizations dedicated to helping ill children and impoverished elders.

During the press conference, Mr. Rafael Yunén, a historian who specializes in geography and human settlement, remarked that tobacco was the most widespread indigenous crop all across the American continent long before Europeans arrived and played an important role in Taíno mythology, religion, magical practices, medicine, politics, celebrations of all kinds, as well in both private and public customs. Tobacco is the only principal product of the island of Hispaniola that has been constantly in demand as a commercial product from prehistory through the present day, thus it is the product most closely associated with the long-term evolution of the Dominican people.

Mr. Litto Gomez, President of La Flor Dominicana, noted the gratitude and appreciation of the Dominican Republic and its brands.

Hendrik Kelner, Vice–Chairman of Tabadom Holding, Inc, spoke about the Genetic Improvement of Tobacco in the Dominican Republic. He mentioned the great work of selection that was done restoring the original quality of the varieties, and began a process of hybridization of different seeds by people with vast amounts of knowledge after the boom. This has given not only a great offer in different stimulations, but also has increased the resistance to diseases and increased yield per acre of our tobaccos. As well as physical characteristics of leaves that show better elasticity, shininess, and size. 

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG, reviewed the international cigar business for 2014 and noted that the overall global premium cigar sales grew an estimated 3% with Europe in decline by a similar number, while all other regions posted growth of low to mid-single digits. Strongest growth was registered in Asia and the Middle East, and Global Travel Retail & Duty Free continues to be a channel of critical and increasing importance for premium cigars.

Procigar Festival Sponsors were: 

PLATINUM – Xikar, Vrijdag Premium Printing, Instituto del Tabaco de la República Dominicana, Grand Island Group Tobacco Growers, Cigar Rings, International Packaging, 

GOLD – Casa de Campo, Hodelpa Gran Almirante, Delta Airlines, Corporación Zona Franca Industrial Santiago, Banco Popular, Swisher Dominicana, ASP Enterprises Tobacco Growers, Brugal 1888, Aeropuerto Cibao 

SILVER – Mane Group Tobacco Flavors, Blue Jack Tar, Ferquido, Cerveza Presidente, VIALX, Fersan, Inetab Kaubek, Café Santo Domingo, Caribe Tours, El Catador. 

BRONZE – Casino Cirsa, Trinity Imports, Pepsi / 7UP /Montpelier, Cigar by Hand, Consejo Nacional de Zonas Francas de Exportación, Ministerio de Industria y Comercio, Swedish Match Dominicana, Jose Mendez & Cia, Compañía de Tabacos Quisqueya, Tabacos Villa González, Flor de los Reyes, Hail and Cotton Domitab, TRP Dominicana, Wikiprint, UPS, Snap Fiesta, Arnold Andre, 4 Ideas, EMPA Packaging.

For Immediate Release
March 3rd, 2015 
Contact: Sara Tio saratio@procigar.org 
Tel.: 809-580-4754 / 809-604-3212 
Facebook: facebook.com/procigar.org 
Instagram: @procigar_rd 
Twitter: @procigar_rd