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Big Smoke Saturday Seminars: Lunch

Jack Bettridge
Posted: November 17, 2010

Lunch with General Cigar Co. offered not only a new format for the noontime repast during Saturday's seminar sessions at the Big Smoke Las Vegas Weekend, but it gave diners an introduction to many of the great names of that important cigarmaker.

And that's not to mention the load of cigars that guests carried away from the event.

At past luncheons, each table has been hosted by a separate manufacturer. This year, for the second time running, we have had a cigar company take over the whole event. This time General Cigar took over, introducing the crowd to a dozen key members of its workforce that comprises some 9,000 people. Debo Mukherjee, vice president of marketing for General, hosted the lunch.

Two cigar legends also joined the group: Sherwin Seltzer and Benjamin Menendez. With Seltzer's 50 plus years in the industry and Menendez's 58, they represented well more than a century of cigar experience.

Mike Giannini, of General's La Gloria Cubana brand, introduced the two elder statesmen, saying, "Without these two guys, none of us would be here today."

Seltzer told the diners that he if he had one idea to convey about the current state of the cigar market it was "passion" on the part of new smokers. Menendez added that his greatest honor in his career was to be able to help along the younger generation of the cigar industry as they take it into the next era.

As well as Mukherjee, Giannini, Seltzer and Menendez, such General Cigar representatives as Mick Cameron, Bill Chilian, Blair Smith, Jhonys Diaz, Francisco Rodriguez, Francisco Rodriquez and Edmundo Garcia were on hand to discuss the company's products (e.g., Macanudo, La Gloria Cubana, Punch, Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey, Bolivar, Excalibur, Cohiba).

Guests Danny Bianco and Ken Shuster, both of New Jersey, enthused about the opportunity to meet with the General representatives, who circulated amongst the tables to answer questions. "I thought it was awesome that they came around and appreciated us being there," said Bianco.

"It seemed like a family," said Shuster. "Like they brought you all the way back to the farm as they explained the process."

Every Big Smoke attendee received the following cigars while walking into the lunch hall: Macanudo Crü Royale, Hoyo de Monterrey Reposado en Cedros and La Gloria Cubana Serie N.

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