Boutique Cigar Association Unites with Diplomatic Cigar Corps to Safeguard Premium Cigar Craftsmanship

by | Aug 30, 2023

In a compelling union, the Boutique Cigar Association of America (BCA) convened with the Diplomatic Cigar Corps, an entity established by the two Embassy co-chairs, the Dominican Republic, and Honduras, in collaboration with the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) to harmonize the efforts of international diplomatic missions in Washington, DC. The principal aim of this union is to champion and uphold the esteemed premium cigar industry. The momentous gathering welcomed delegates from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and PCA.

Just under three weeks following the BCA’s productive discussions with the Congressional Cigar Caucus and fruitful exchanges with the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C., it was time to bring the concerns of small, family-owned boutique cigar enterprises to the attention of the Diplomatic Cigar Corps. representatives. Orchestrating this pivotal dialogue was Ryan M. Parada, Senior Manager of Government Affairs and International Policy at PCA. Leading the BCA’s representation were Armen Caprielian, the current President, and Dr. Gaby Kafie, the Founder and Treasurer.

The present-day assembly featured esteemed figures such as Mr. Leonel Mateo Hernández, the Head of Economic and Commercial Affairs for the Embassy of the Dominican Republic, and Mr. Ricardo Lopez, the Counselor of the Honduran Embassy to the United States of America. The discourse centered on highlighting the pivotal role of the premium cigar industry in the development of Latin American nations.

During the session, Dr. Gaby Kafie aptly highlighted, “While the primary cigar manufacturing countries are often threefold – Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Honduras – the labor force that drives the premium cigar industry is largely sourced from tobacco cultivation. Our cigars are meticulously hand-rolled within a single nation, yet the raw tobacco originates from an array of 8 to 10 countries. It’s customary for new world cigar blends to encompass tobacco from diverse origins. Consequently, the impact of job loss reverberates across all nations engaged in premium cigar tobacco cultivation.”

The extensive meeting, spanning over an hour, facilitated a comprehensive exploration of the nature of boutique cigar enterprises and their profound significance within the premium cigar industry. Dr. Kafie aptly expressed, “While the industry often spotlights the larger factories, the lesser-known fact is that many of these giants also produce myriad boutique cigar brands. The Boutique Cigar Association serves as a vital conduit for these enterprises, ensuring their voices are heard. We are diverse threads interwoven within the same tapestry.”

Mr. Armen Caprielian, representing the BCA’s member companies, underscored the disproportionately harsh impact of adverse factors on small, family-owned boutique cigar entities. “Due to limited resources and finances, boutique cigar businesses remain exceptionally vulnerable. They stand at the forefront of the risk spectrum,” he emphasized. The discourse proved illuminating, forging a clear path for collaboration between the Diplomatic Cigar Corps and the Boutique Cigar Association member companies, as they navigate the current regulatory landscape. As predominantly first-generation cigar companies, our collective narrative stands as a crucial testament, one that warrants widespread dissemination. With a robust roster of over 55 member companies, our collective presence and voice hold undeniable sway.

As Leonel Mateo Hernández so eloquently concluded, “The tales of boutique cigar companies fuel an unwavering passion to protect our industry and its stakeholders.” Echoing this sentiment, Ricardo Lopez of Honduras emphasized, “We serve as the direct conduit to our governments, channeling the aspirations and concerns of our industry.” The confluence of minds and ideas in such productive sessions propels our shared endeavor forward – to establish a unified voice for boutique cigar companies, steadfastly safeguarding the legacy that defines the premium cigar industry.

Established in 2016, the Boutique Cigar Association emerged with a resolute purpose: to guide small, family-owned premium cigar enterprises through the intricate landscapes of the tobacco industry. It stands as a collective voice, harmonizing the efforts of numerous companies seeking guidance and representation in our dynamic field. Our commitment extends to wholeheartedly supporting the Premium Cigar Association’s endeavors, under the condition that our unique needs and challenges are duly acknowledged. As we tread this path, we acknowledge the Premium Cigar Association as a trailblazing industry authority. We value the opportunity to sit at the deliberative table, enabling us to voice our concerns before both domestic and international governmental bodies. Through this collaborative engagement, we pave the way for a more secure and thriving future.




KAFIE 1901










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