Christian Eiroa, the president of Camacho Cigars, admits he was never a big baseball fan. That was until the Camacho Cigar Bar opened at Comerica Park in Detroit. Now, Eiroa is a Tigers fan to the hilt.
Given the turnout of enthusiastic Motor City cigar smokers at the grand opening of the bar and lounge on June 23, Tigers fans are becoming Camacho fans, too.
"We're excited," said Eiroa, as the cigar bar filled with patrons and smoke. "We were going with our gut instinct on this. Cigar smoking is a social event -- you hang out, network, socialize -- so we wanted to create a place for the fans that is cigar-friendly."
As the number of cigar-friendly establishments continues to dwindle, Eiroa's instincts put the barrel of the bat on the ball. Before, during and after Detroit's game against interleague rival St. Louis -- the American League Central-leading Tigers, beat the Cardinals, 10-6, before a sold-out crowd -- the Camacho Cigar Bar was jammed with people. The bar was open, food was available, but most importantly, cigars were being enjoyed in an atmosphere outside the jurisdiction of the antismoking police.
|A view of Comerica Park from the stands.|
According to Eiroa, the seeds of the deal were sown on Easter Sunday in Key West, Florida. Through a cousin, Eiroa heard that the Tigers organization was looking for a partner to run an existing bar and cigar lounge at the ballpark. Eiroa says that Detroit is a growing cigar market with several high-end retailers and no antismoking laws to contend with, but admits he still had reservations.
"I wasn't sure it was going to be a fit," he said, "but when I got here, when we walked into the bar, I knew it was what we wanted."
|Fans enjoying a smoke and a drink in comfort at the park.|
McLean added that, so far, the response has been fabulous. "We're very enthusiastic," he said. "We want fans to have a well-rounded experience when they come to the ballpark. Cigars reach out to another segment of our fan base and Camacho is enhancing the fan experience."
The relationship is also benefiting Camacho, as the company continues its marketing push to take the brand to a higher level while still operating as a small company.
"We are trying to generate the image we want," said Eiroa. "To tie the Camacho with winning."
With the Tigers in first place and fans eagerly lighting up Camacho cigars at Comerica Park, Eiroa is doing just that.
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