Just like that, another year is in the books! With 2022 in the rearview mirror, we’re already hard at work cooking up some cool new plans 2023—but before we launch headlong into the new year, I feel it’s important to take some time to offer a very sincere thank-you for another record year here at Renegade Cigars. This year, more than ever before, I’m truly proud of the community we’ve built. Renegade wouldn’t be the place it is without YOU. Our passion is to create new and fun experiences while helping our clients discover amazing cigars. Every day, my staff and I are extremely thankful that you give us the opportunity to work with and for you.
Each year at this time, I like to write an open letter to our customers, where I look back at the previous year’s wins and losses, and where I give you all an idea of what we hope to accomplish in the coming twelve months. To take a peek behind that curtain, continue reading!
Events: This was the first full year where we were able to once again host events without COVID restrictions. We hosted several manufacturers (Christian Eiroa, Nick Perdomo, and Robert Caldwell to name a few) but were unfortunately unable to see our friend Henderson Ventura. We provided unique tasting experiences both on and off-site. Best of all, our customers seemed more excited than ever to join in on the fun, and we hit record numbers at almost every event we held. If you weren’t able to join us this year for an event, we encourage you to join us for the exciting things we have planned in 2023. Our events give customers who typically don’t cross paths a chance to meet!
Education: We continued our educational email series and blog to strong support. Our open rate is well over 50 percent on these emails, and our blog is driving significant traffic to our website. The great thing about this is that as a result, we’re able to help educate even more people on cigars than ever before! Not only did we help educate our customers ourselves, but we also held some private dinners with cigar manufactures who shared their knowledge with those in attendance. We even hosted cigar school again, which resulted in several people joining the Renegade community. I look forward to keeping this momentum going and sharing our cigar knowledge with you in new ways next year.
Staff: We said goodbye to some of our staff in 2022. Chris, Maaz, and Bryce all found full-time positions in industries they were pursuing. I’m glad to report that they’re all doing well, and everyone here at Renegade is happy for their success! As a result, we were able to bring in some new faces, welcoming Dan, Nina, and Dave to the team. Each one of them has made a positive impact on the lounge with their presence in unique ways. If you haven’t had a chance to meet them yet, swing by and say hello.
Releases: We continued to release cigars under the NDA series brand to great success. Unfortunately, it looks like our upcoming release may be the last for the foreseeable future. So if you haven’t tried any of the NDA series yet, I highly suggest you get ahold of some before they’re gone. We also partnered with Tabacalera William Ventura to produce Santiago State of Mind, which quickly became one of our best-selling cigars in the humidor. I’ll admit that we were initially a bit nervous when we ordered 2000 cigars and 6000 showed up—but we’re glad we kept the excess inventory. As it turns out, we needed it! As always, our anniversary releases sold out quickly (within 32 minutes, to be exact) and received high praise. While there’s always debate on which anniversary release has been the best, the XII is definitely high on people’s lists, and for that we’re proud.
Advertising Got More Challenging: You might have noticed us asking for your assistance in sharing the word about Renegade. This is because it’s getting increasingly challenging to post information about cigars online. Social media companies are limiting organic reach on tobacco products. Email providers are also making it harder to get to the top of your inbox. And other communication channels are making it harder for cigars as well. Thank you to those who helped spread the word about happenings at Renegade. Your interactions with posts, opening of our emails, and leaving Google reviews greatly helps spread the word.
Inflation: Inflation was a hot topic this year, hurting just about everyone’s bank accounts. The good news? Cigars on average went up in cost less than other products. The average cigar went up three to five percent in cost compared to the 7.1-percent inflation rate the United States is currently experiencing. Inflation in cigar manufacturing countries is even higher, with some manufacturing costs rising by more than 20 percent. A lot of these manufacturers wound up eating much of those additional costs, saving customers from having to foot the bill. Historically this has been the case, with inflation greatly outpacing increases in cigar pricing. Cigars still represent a very affordable luxury when compared to many other products on the market.
A Brief Look at the Retail Numbers:
2022 Customers: 8,000+
2022 Transactions: 24,000+
2022 Total Cigars Sold: 200,000+/-
Top Selling Brands:
Renegade Cigars, Davidoff, Padron, Drew Estate, Rocky Patel, ADVentura, Caldwell/Lost & Found, Perdomo, My Father, Oliva and Eiroa
The Year Ahead: While there’s much to be thankful for over the past year, we’ve got our eyes set firmly to the future, and we’re incredibly excited for what’s on the horizon. While 2022 was a big year for Renegade, we’ve set even bigger goals for 2023. You can expect larger events, more educational content, more exclusive cigars…and a few surprises that we’re keeping under wraps for now. We’re determined to keep pushing the envelope and providing our customers with a world-class premium experience you can’t get anywhere else.
From the Staff: Your support, trust and friendship means the world to us here at Renegade. Watching friendships form and grow in the lounge is one of the most rewarding parts of our job. We are honored to be your lounge of choice and proud of the community that has formed. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to work with and for you. Whether you’re looking for a place to watch the game or knock out a few hours of work, we’ll be here with a comfortable chair, a clean ashtray, and a wide selection of cigars for you to enjoy.
Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
Brandon Hayes & Staff