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ACID 20th Anniversary Interview with Jonathan Drew

Jonathan Drew

Cigar Press – With the 20th year of the ACID brand upon us, we can just imagine what kind of extravaganza Drew Estate is gonna drop on the cigar community. JD, can you provide the Cigar Press readership with the big picture and the impact Drew Estate is looking to achieve?

JD – First off, it’s really important for us to mention just how much the entire Drew Estate organization appreciates Cigar Press, and your readership. We’ve been with Press from the very beginning, and we continue to be huge fans of the magazine. In regard to the big picture for the 20 year celebration of ACID Cigars, the brand deserves to be acknowledged in a historic manner. It’s an extremely dignified brand with a decorated journey that defied the old-time pundits. There was truly tremendous hardship in building this mega-brand, so the double decade anniversary needs to be deeply personal, while at the same time – larger than life. Let’s begin with the personal aspect to the 20 year celebration. Life in general seems to have such highs and lows, everyday challenges that simply ground us because the struggle out there is real. However, our favorite cigar is always there for us, and is often the bridge to help us remain steadfast and keep pushing, keep fighting. Many people smoke ACID as their “go to” cigar, so I’m speaking to this group of believers when I touch upon the personal aspect of the 20 year journey … it’s about the tribute to our good ole friend, ACID.

Now, on the other side of the spectrum, we have the big, mega-ton-bomb celebration side to things. This is where we just wanna get the party poppin off the wall like Lucy Ball. We’re talking about … spark up the Kuba Kuba and let’s get down. Let your hair down and fire up that ACID Blondie, cause it’s about to get hot in here.

The ACID 20 year anniversary is umbrella’d in that supreme duality, deeply personal, as well as celebratory – so we are gonna feed all your senses and sensibilities with incredible cigar releases and cultural experiences – inclusive to our loyal cigar shop owners and final consumers alike.

CP – Can you dig deeper into the specifics at this time and provide details into the specific ACID brand releases that you guys are dropping on us?

JD – Indeed, my brother. I’m going to dive into the product releases by illustrating four areas that build up like a volcanic eruption. The first area under the umbrella are the big mega bomb releases, as these are the two very special ACID blockbusters that are going to heavily impact the industry. The first is the “Kuba Arte” collection and the second is “ACID 20.” “The “Kuba Arte” collection comprises seven magnificent and unique, desk-top water tower humidors containing twenty, well-aged ACID’s, all 5 13/16” x 54, and are outright works of art. While the cigars are amazing, these limited edition water towers are both functional and beyond beautiful. We looked very deep into our roots to represent the birth of the brand, so we had to venture to Planet Brooklyn. Only BK artists would be selected, and only those who truly understood the ACID brand’s unique attributes. The five artists are @queenandreaone , @KEO_XMEN , @DOCTC5 , @VERS718 & @chinobyi , and I suggest you visit their IG’s to feel that Brooklyn flava. Kuba Arte are extremely limited editions, truly function as humidors, and importantly, the sticks are super dope.

Next up, the “ACID 20” brand is a chromed out beast, a wavy leviathan, so gallant and classy. Joey, Raphael, Phan, Fabien, and the whole marketing department at DE worked really hard on the packaging and coordination of this release and we are so proud of them. The “ACID 20” cigar is modern day masterpiece, Nicaraguan at the core, with a deep, lush, velvet, Mexican blanket, oozing with flavor. These 5×52 master killers are box pressed gems and probably will be considered the best ACID cigar release since Kuba Kuba. We select the best tobacco leaves in the world for the “ACID 20” and will continue to engage the Nicaraguan production team supervisors on a daily basis to ensure quality and consistency. The steel metal medallion on the chrome box showcases the ACID 20 logo and is a beacon of freedom and self-expression. The second area of the twenty-year celebration buckets into that personal journey I described above. We wanted to release a few ACID bangers that are exclusive to our Drew Diplomat Retailer partners. These are a collection of regional cigars called “ACID Accents” that are very personal to local neighborhoods within the USA that drove depth and purpose to the brand during the come-up. From the NYC 5 boroughs to Baltimore, to all sorts of meaningful hoods, both urban and suburban, we definitely wanted to give a nod to our initial consumers who gave us first breath. The “Jay Street Posse” is the first to drop and honors the Dumbo neighborhood, “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” It’s a 4.5 inch maduro figurado. I suggest you visit the Drew Diplomat App to find 411 about your local ACID Accents … there’s my free plug for the Drew Diplomat App.

The third area under the twenty year umbrella is directed to our partnerships with our Drew Estate retailers nationwide. We dropped the “ACID Plush” and the “ACID Croqueta” in the spring, killer blends with sizes designed to move in the retail environment. The Plush is a 5 ½” x 50, wrapped in a dense, shimmering broadleaf viso grade wrapper. The Croqueta is a Cuban tasty treat, best enjoyed with a cafecito. Oh yeah … it’s also a mildly strange ACID product in a tube that’s actually 2 cigars.

Finally, the last area of celebration, let me introduce you to “ACID Frenchies”. Looking back to the earlier part of this year, during the TPE show in Vegas, we showcased an ACID expression called “Frenchies,” which are real quick, 3 3/4 x 20 small cigars for your on-the-run smoker. ACID Frenchies were only sold in 600+ Quick Trip locations across the US, in a special release program, but are now being released nationally. It was important for DE to make the ACID Frenchie very accessible, super easy to find, and quick to snag … so we are placing them in every corner store, gas station, bodega, C-Store, DTO, etc. and every nook and cranny. You guys are probably familiar with our ACID Tins, called ACID Krush Classics. The recently released Frenchies are even smaller and more petite, but just as delicious. They are offered in 10 count little boxes, as well as 5 count. They are priced very inexpensively and fit into the small cigar category, but they supa nice.

CP – In regard to the experiential side, what has Drew Estate cooked up for the 20th year celebration?

JD – We have both the trade and consumer experiences fast approaching, which meet the standard for this historic moment. You know we are going to party hard, commemorating the two decades of excellence behind ACID, as well as the jump off for the journey forward. At the upcoming IPCPR show in July, we have an amazing ACID Experience in our trade booth. Remember, the DE trade show space is huge, maybe the biggest in the exhibition hall … so we garnered the space needed to drop this explosive, brain box buster on our retailers. They are going to freak out. Dirty Fabien, our Director of Consumer Engagement and Laura Torres, Director of Trade Shows, teamed up with the marketing and sales staff to tear the walls down in Las Vegas. Since this interview will drop a few days before the show, I’m not giving away the massive surprise.

Finally, on the consumer side, we have heavily invested into our Drew Estate Barn Smokers in Kentucky, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Florida to represent the ACID brand throughout this celebratory year. So many cigar consumers have visited us in Nicaragua for Cigar Safari™ and here in the USA for Barn Smoker™ … but this year we did a re-envision for the entire experience. We really amplified the experience so we could educate and celebrate at the same time. We are talking about some space travel kind of voyage here, just what twenty years of the baddest brand in the universe deserves.

left: Jon Drew, center: Marvin Samel, right: Scott Chester