Feature Interview2020-07-27T12:26:40-08:00

Feature Interview

An Interview With Jon Taffer: The King of Transformative Television

  It’s just before noon on a typical Thursday in Downtown Santa Monica. The sun is out, and there’s a cool breeze blowing onshore from the Pacific Ocean. I’m at Barney’s Beanery, on the 3rd Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica preparing for an interview with one of the true legends of the spirits industry, Jon Taffer. Most people know Jon Taffer from his hit TV Series Bar Rescue on Spike TV. His depth of knowledge comes from years of hard work and dedication to his craft–dedication that would one day lead to him being one of the most well known and respected stars of transformative television. Soft-spoken, yet with a presence that commands the room, Jon Taffer is a man that has rescued hundreds of bars, and enjoyed countless cigars along the way. Rescuing bars wasn’t always the plan for Taffer though; in fact, it was more of an afterthought to his main business, which had always been buying and selling bars and restaurants. After years of making the rounds through the speaking circuit for the National Restaurant Association and Bar and Nightclub Convention, Taffer experienced something new- a joy in helping people become successful…and well, it’s a story [...]

Interview with Veritas Cigars’ Vice President and Director of Marketing, Chris Weber

 "Passion goes into everything we do from our brand names to our blends to the images of the bands that they represent." By Randy Mastronicola In Latin, “Veritas Sine Timore” means Truth Without Fear. That proverb was the high school motto of Chris Weber, vice president and director of marketing at Veritas Cigars. The origin of that inspiration is a good a place to begin when getting to know the man and his brand. Many cigar lovers and entrepreneurs have entertained the notion of what it would be like to establish the ultimate lounge or developing the perfect tobacco blend. In today’s cigar industry climate, realizing the dream of engineering a fine smoke takes a lot of business acumen, marketing street smarts, product knowledge, and passion. In just over four years of entering the boutique cigar landscape, Veritas Cigars has garnered a lot of enthusiastic buzz and built an evolving customer base.  Randy Mastronicola: Chris, what was the inspiration for you to move forward from    your previous career path to become a cigar maker? Chris Weber: At the time I was back in school and it was just prior to my son being born. I was sitting with my father [...]

Cigar&Spirits July/August 2015 Cigar Buyer’s Guide Video Preview

Delicia Silva: Hey everyone thanks for tuning in to Cigar&Spirits TV. I’m Delicia and we’re hanging out with Lincoln in the office and we are just going over the latest issue of Cigar&Spirits magazine with Jeremy Piven, or Ari as you all know him from "Entourage" and we were discussing how many great cigars are rated in this issue. Lincoln Salazar: This is one of our biggest issues of the year, it is our IPCPR issue and we’ve rated 102 cigars, and in this issue you’ll notice the ratings are a little higher, and the reason being is we really want the retailers know it is the buyer’s guide for the IPCPR. We really want the retailers to know what’s great out there what’s good and what they should be filling their humidors with for their customers Delicia: That is a great point and I love that you guys did that this time because when you go to IPCPR there are so many different cigars out there and you kind of get overwhelmed sometimes so its a nice way to have a quick reference and know what to fill your humidors with for your customers. This year, we have an [...]

An Interview with Gurkha Cigar Group Chairman Kaizad Hansotia

Gurkha has come a long way from the garage-sized warehouse in the free zone of Miami to a 40,000-square-foot facility in Tamarac By Randy Mastronicola photos Courtesy Gurkha Cigar Group Cigars make great gifts. They represent family, luck, destiny, vision and generosity—all gifts for sharing and receiving. Gurkha Cigar Group Chairman, Kaizad Hansotia, discovered this first-hand in 1989 when exploring his roots on vacation in India. Kaizad's family was already immensely successful in the business of making luxury watches and a variety of other timepieces when Kaizad happened upon a Portuguese cigar roller who was selling his product under the name of Gurkha. Kaizad was enthralled by the man’s craft and thought his cigars would make unique gifts for customers of the family business. He learned that these Gurkha cigars were named after Nepalese warriors whose bravery had inspired British troops, and the intrigue surrounding the cigars proved too tempting to pass up. Kaizad decided to purchase the man’s entire stock for a nominal investment of $149. Gurkha cigars were initially sold at a friend’s duty free shop, and the demand was unbelievable. Kaizad quickly decided to enter the business of luxury cigars. Here he was, a man of Indian descent [...]

An Interview with William Shatner

Besides a fine cigar and a single-malt Scotch, William Shatner has other passions that keep him busy. By Russ Case By the time you’ve finished reading this, chances are William Shatner is close to finalizing a new television series, putting the finishing touches on a new book and ironing out the next tour dates for his one-man show, Shatner’s World. Saying the man is busy is an understatement of epic proportions, but because Shatner’s love of a fine cigar and taste for a vintage spirit were why we were chatting in the first place, let’s start there. “I started smoking,” William Shatner said, “like many people who smoke as kids, because I saw my father doing it. It was smart to smoke cigarettes in those days. I remember a movie with a French actor who had two cigarettes in his mouth. He lit both of them with the same match and hands one to his lady love, and they smoldered together. So eventually there I was, with a cigarette in my mouth.” Cigarette smoking continued into adulthood. “It was nationally acceptable after movie stars made smoking romantic. And with cigarettes dangling from artists’ lips as they painted or while writing [...]

Load More Posts
Go to Top