In the new episode of Box Press, out now, host Rob Gagner sits down with Aric Bey – the owner and founder of Black Star Line Cigars. For more than 40 minutes, they cover everything from Bey’s journey to the brand’s future. Even on the floor of a trade show – this interview actually filmed at last year’s annual Premium Cigar Association industry event – Gagner manages to create an environment that feels like sitting in on a conversation at the lounge. The conversation captures a picture in time that is not only a really interesting look behind the scenes at the excitement surrounding Black Star Line’s Debut at the show, but is also just as relevant and insightful even almost a full year later.
Named after Marcus Garvey’s 1919 steamship company established to promote international commerce, Bey chose Black Star Line in an effort to keep names like Garvey’s spoken for as long as possible. “I just wanted to pay homage to him because a lot of people know about like, Martin Luther King or Malcolm X. A lot of people don’t know who Marcus Garvey is. So I decided to pay homage to him. And I’m really huge on history and ancestors because if it wasn’t for the people that came before us, none of us would be here,” Aric explains. Bey worked on the Black History Month cigar with Dean Parsons of Epic Cigars, and shared it was an honor to be involved in the project that was released by Brian Desind and Privada Cigar Club.
Bey’s path to cigar brand owner has not been a conventional one, but that always makes for the best stories. He holds an MBA in Finance as well as a Master’s degree in Public Health, and was halfway through law school when he decided to become a Chicago firefighter. An on-duty injury sustained while removing a child from a car would prevent him from continuing his hard-earned role. While he was recuperating, his wife – also working a full time job of her own – prepared and mailed as many as 20 boxes a day for the growing cigar company. Black Star, since the interview was filmed, has also made a line of coffee – War Witch – available on a regular basis via their shop site. War Witch Coffee is made to pair perfectly with their cigars – especially the War Witch Lancero. Check out this episode, #90 for the show, on your favorite podcast platforms.