We recently had the opportunity to talk to Dave Cribbin, the founder of Rolling Thunder Cigars, an exciting new brand based out of Pinellas Park, FL, near Tampa. Dave is a great cigar smoker, and his Rolling Thunder Cigars are everything he loves about cigars rolled up in one smoky, leafy bundle. Their signature cigar, the .50CAL, is one of the most exciting new smokes to have hit the market in recent years. It’s lights quickly, toasts cleanly, has a smooth buttery wrapper. Reviewers have complimented it for its “smooth, buttery wrapper,” “earthy taste,” and “peppery finish.” Being cigar lovers ourselves, we were very excited to find out a little more about Dave and what makes him tick.
When did you first get into cigars? What sparked your interest?
I am a serial entrepreneur and I was looking for something new after things got slow in my aircraft finance business. I was fooling around on Facebook and came across a cigar group. There were all kinds of people sharing the fun they were having smoking cigars, trading cigars, and selling cigars to each other. Here was an online forum exclusive to cigar smokers. That’s when the light bulb came on. Here was a powerful new advertising medium where I could target my demographic, and it was free.
Your cigars are rolled in Ybor City, Florida. What drew you there? What sets their cigar makers apart from the rest?
My background is in sales and marketing – not growing tobacco, not harvesting tobacco, not aging tobacco, and not producing cigars – so that meant I had to find someone to manufacture cigars for me. Living only a short distance away from Ybor city sometimes called the “Cigar City,” I was on a mission to find a manufacturer that I could work with. So I began to smoke my way through Ybor city until I found the right manufacturer who could produce the kind of cigars that I would put the Rolling Thunder brand on. Over the next year, we built the brand through the help of social media and the many customers that found our site and ordered our .50CALS.
When we started to sell through the brick-and-mortar stores, it became apparent that the small manufacturer in Ybor would not be able to keep up with demand. So again, we had to find a new manufacture and the search was on. This time it ended in Esteli Nicaragua. When our Maduro .50CALS, our most popular cigar, comes in, we will shift all of our manufacturing of to Esteli.
How do you recommend people store your cigars? What should they watch out for?
Properly storing your cigars is critical. If they are not kept at the right temperature and humidity all kinds of bad things can happen. If they get too dry, the wrappers will crack and literally roll off of the cigar. If they get too humid, the draw of the cigar will be tight and they won’t burn properly. There is nothing worse than trying to relax and enjoy a cigar that won’t burn right or is falling apart as you smoke it. We store our cigars in a temperature and humidity-controlled warehouse, which is probably a little bit bigger than your normal humidor.
You’re going to start selling NewAir cigar humidors on your website soon. What’s special about them?
We’ve found NewAir Cigar Humidors to be an ideal way to store and age cigars. You’re able to easily control the temperature and humidity to keep your cigars in perfect smoking condition. We are very excited about being a vendor for the NewAir product line.
What is your favorite time to smoke? Afternoon? Evening? After dinner?
My favorite time to smoke is morning, noon, and night. I love the Connecticut shade cigar in the morning, or a nice Bono in the afternoon, and maybe a Double Maduro with an adult beverage after dinner. My absolute favorite cigar is the .50CAL Double Maduro.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Are there any big events coming up?
We are attending Cars Bars and Cigars Boutique Brands event at the end of May in Delaware. It should be a great time!