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

The world-renowned Procigar members were proud to host the ninth annual Procigar Festival where over 350 guests from more than 20 countries were welcomed. Attendees included suppliers, retailers, consumers and industry associates from all over the world that gathered to celebrate the Procigar Festival at the Dominican Republic – the Cigar Country. 

The festival started on February 21st in the memorable The Westin Punta Cana Resort & Club where guests had the option to relax before the main part of the program by taking a tour to Scape Park, or simply enjoying the country’s beautiful weather in the east coast. 

On Tuesday, February 23rd, Tabacalera de García, the biggest cigar factory of the world, hosted cigar lovers and guided them through their facilities where they enjoyed a delicious lunch of our local cuisine. In the afternoon, 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 6th annual Procigar Poker Tournament with proceeds to local Charity, merengue lessons, a beach day at the Gansevoort Hotel, among others. Also, for the very first time, a Long Ash Contest was held by the Procigar Members won by Lin Yong. 

A wonderful goodie bag was given to all festival guests with a retail price of approximately US$250.00, including the festival special edition cigar box, cigar accessories, polo shirt, hat and other promotional items. 

On Wednesday February 24th, a traditional welcome dinner was held at the gardens of Teatro del Cibao, where the Minister of Culture recognized the tobacco industry and all Procigar members presented either a new, limited or special cigar to all the guests: Tabacalera de García – Henry Clay Stalk Cut, De Los Reyes – The Saga Short Tales: High Priming, Quesada – Quesada Privat, La Aurora - Aurora Preferido Ecuador, Tabacos Quisqueyanos, S.A. – Juan Clemente Robusto Oscuro, Tabacalera La Flor Dominicana – La Flor Dominicana Edición Procigar, General Cigar – Blend M-01, Tabacalera La Alianza – E.P.Carrillo Selección No.6, Tabacalera Palma – La Galera Habano L. E. Bonchero, Tabadom Holding – Davidoff Mistery Cigar and Tabacalera Fuente – Don Arturo Destino al Siglo de Pasión. The night continued with a delicious Dominican dinner and a merengue contest, where there was a tie between the CEO of J. Cortés, Fred Vandermarliere and Angel Elizalde from ASP Enterprises, each one got to choose 100 cigars from one of the cigar brands manufactured by the Procigar members. 

A welcome white attire dinner took place at Santiago’s Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración on Thursday, February 25th where the attendees enjoyed the nice atmosphere with the local bossa nova band of Lentz Louis. 

The closing ceremony was celebrated at the Centro Español, a private Spanish Club in Santiago where guests experienced a delicious dinner and an exciting show with live music of Samuel González and an after party with a percussionist group called Viva La Percusión. Also the company PDR Cigars presided by Abraham Flores will be presented as a new active member. The event concluded its week-long celebration with a gala dinner that raised a record breaking $201,000 in a live auction, more than doubling the amount raised the prior year. All of the proceeds from the auction benefit The Voluntariado de Jesus con los Niños (a non-profit organization for ill children), The Sociedad San Vicente de Paul (a retirement home for low income elderly) and The Monumento a los Heroes de la Restauración. 

The live auction, co-hosted by Quesada Cigars President and Vice President of ProCigar Manuel Quesada, and Michael Herklots, Vice President of Retail and Brand Development of Nat Sherman, featured 14 official lots, as well as several unannounced lots. Nearly all of the lots featured one-of-akind humidors or limited edition cigars. The auction opened with a warm up lot, a bow-tie and handkerchief stolen off Mr. Alberto Montserrat, President of Cigar Rings which despite a bidding war to win it back was sold to tablemate Litto Gomez, President of La Flor Dominican Cigars, for $1,000. A custom Trunk Humidor filled with long sold out limited edition Davidoff Cigars offered by Oettinger Davidoff AG’s Tabadom Holdings fetched $58,000, the highest amount paid for a lot during the evening. A stunning humidor sculpted in replica scale of a typical Santiago Coche and filled with cigars from De Los Reyes Cigars, brought in the second highest closing bid of $50,000. The Auction concluded with Manuel Quesada being challenged by Mr. Gomez to shave his moustache. The bidding began at $4,700 (one hundred dollars per year that the moustache had been on Mr. Quesada), and through a group effort of contributions brought in a total of $15,000 to evening’s total to remove Quesada’s moustache. 

“Enjoying some of the world’s greatest cigars, food, music, rum and beer, together with some of the world’s greatest people, in the middle of the Dominican Republic… it is really tough to beat.”, said Herklots. “But, when you can do all of those things and raise money to help those less fortunate at the same time, it becomes a magical experience that is frankly, impossible to beat.” 

During the press conference, Hendrik Kelner, President of Procigar and Vice–Chairman of Tabadom Holding, Inc. mentioned that the Dominican Republic was the first exporter of tobacco and today is the largest exporting country of cigars. The tobacco has had a permanent presence in the history of our country and around the tobacco. For generations, it has formed a society of freemen and smallholders, who outlined the nature of a Dominican: hard worker, sociable, democratic, friendly and cheerful. This culture, passed down for generations is our greatest heritage. So the tobacco is and should be declared cultural heritage of the Dominican Republic. 

Mr. Litto Gomez, President of La Flor Dominicana, noted how the Dominican Cigars are taking over the world markets. 

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO of Oettinger Davidoff AG, said: “The EU’s new Tobacco Directive 2 (TPD2), taking effect in May 2016, is the single largest change in the history of the cigar industry. Article 11 in the new law makes exemption for cigars from the most draconian measures, but it’s up to each country to decide on this. So far, draft legislation shows that exemptions are likely or confirmed in Spain, Germany, Italy and a number of smaller countries. But exemption does not mean no change - we will still have to increase the size of the health warning to cover 65% of the packaging and also feature health warnings on the inside lid of a cigar box. This causes huge cost increases for our industry, packaging needing to be revised and redesigned. In Travel Retail some countries will require not only English language health warnings, but also local languages – eventually ending up with 5 or 27 languages on a cigar pack. This will lead to a drastic reduction in SKUs and lines, because it’s not viable to produce small quantities, and smaller companies cannot afford this”. 

The Tenth Annual ProCigar Festival will be held in February 19-24, 2017. 

Sponsors of Procigar 2016: PLATINUM – Xikar, Vrijdag Premium Printing, Instituto del Tabaco de la República Dominicana, Grand Island Group Tobacco Growers, Cigar Rings, International Packaging, The Glenlivet, The Gansvoort Hotel and Delta Airlines. 

GOLD – Casa de Campo, Hodelpa Gran Almirante, The Westin Punta Cana Restort & Club, Corporación Zona Franca Industrial Santiago, Banco Popular, Swisher Dominicana, ASP Enterprises Tobacco Growers, Brugal 1888, Aeropuerto Cibao, Ministerio de Industria y Comercio, Humidif, Banreservas and Caribex Worldwide. 

SILVER – Mane Group Tobacco Flavors, Ferquido, Cerveza Presidente, VIALX, Fersan, Inetab Kaubek, Café Santo Domingo, El Catador, Transekur and American Pacakaging. 

BRONZE – Casino Cirsa, Trinity Imports, Pepsi / 7UP, Seaboard, Consejo Nacional de Zonas Francas de Exportación, Swedish Match Dominicana, Jose Mendez & Cia, Compañía de Tabacos Quisqueya, Tabacos Villa González, Flor de los Reyes, Hail and Cotton Domitab, TRP Dominicana, Arnold Andre, Unimag, Scape Park, Bimodal Intl. Freighter, Dirección Regional de Cultura, JC Fondeur, Importadora Alvarez y Sánchez, Banco del Progreso, Quad Packaging, Arnold Andre, EMPA Packaging, Metro Gas and Caribe Tours. 


Media Queries: Sara Tio
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