Announced last spring, the cigar rolling classes hosted by J.C. Newman Cigar Company at their historic El Reloj factory have proven to be amazing opportunities for the public to be a part of cigar history. Those who are already cigar lovers get to fulfill an enthusiast’s dream, and individuals who have never even been in the same store as a cigar are introduced to all the aspects they never knew about. Education is the most powerful weapon we have in the fight against bad policy, and as result of the massive success of these classes, J.C. Newman has made the decision to open their doors to even more curious people.
Where most businesses would just allow more people to buy tickets for classes already on the calendar, thereby making the sessions far less intimate, the 138-year-old company refused to dilute the experience that the team has worked so diligently to curate. What this means for the rest of us is that new classes scheduled nearly every week from now through the Fall. You’re going to want to act fast, however, because they are booking up fast. How fast, you may be asking? The next available opening, as of this piece being published, is over two months out. For $75 each, guests spend an hour and fifteen minutes learning how to roll cigars from masters of the craft. By the time that the course has concluded, everyone will have personally rolled 5 cigars to take home and enjoy. Heade over to J.C. Newman’s website to book your next class and to find out more about their guided tours.
Right across the street from El Reloj, work on the new 8,400 square foot Cigar Workers Park is just weeks away from being finished. When they broke ground last November, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor, and the Newman Family were among those present. At the time, the Newmans shared that the family “hopes to show the connection of cigars to nature and do its part to improve and beautify Ybor City for nearby residents and visitors alike.” With the help of the Fly By Night organization, J.C. Newman relocated thousands of bats from the 113-year-old Sanchez y Haya Real Estate Company Building to the park’s two brand new bat houses. The building itself is being completely restored by J.C. Newman to what it would have been like more than a century ago, with a small inn, café, and cigar lounge. That project is expected to be completed in 2025.
Fourth Generation Cigar Maker Drew Newman shared the progress on IG, writing that “This new park will honor the hundreds of thousands of people who have worked in Tampa’s cigar industry since 1886.” Newman also revealed that the concrete walls of the park’s new fountain “are stamped with wood from an old cigar tobacco barn in North Florida that Angel Oliva took my grandfather to visit in 1962.”