As you know by now, Zach Riley has become a true contributor to Stogie Press and I wanted to take him to a new level. I recently asked Zach, if he would be interested in writing a small article about millennial cigar lovers. I know plenty of millennials, my son is one, and I have watched him and his many friends grow and mature over the years. I could have written an article on this topic, but I wanted it to be written from a millennial perspective. So I asked Zach to take the challenge and he did not skip a beat.
The Not So Lazy Millennial Cigar Lovers
By Zach Riley
I’m writing this with great enthusiasm. I am a millennial, but I do not identify as such. My millennial brothers and sisters of the leaf were extremely helpful in the process of researching this article, and I’m going to give you a brief synopsis of how much my demographic smokes, and what we smoke, men and women alike. Yes, women smoke, too, so let’s begin.
Who are these millennials?
To put this in perspective, millennials are officially classified as those that were born between 1980 and 2000. There are 92 Million of us. That is roughly 20% more than baby boomers. We were the first generation to grow up in a truly digital world. When is come to disposable income, a recent report by the Economist notes:
those in their early 30s have 7% more than members of Generation X had at that age and over 40% more than boomers
Millennial cigar lovers are buying cigars with some of that extra money too. How many a week? Believe it or not the average millennial that I polled and know personally smokes about seven cigars a week. Who would’ve thought millennials would have that much disposable income.
It is not just the male population either. Unlike in the past where the cigar industry was predominantly ruled by men, more and more women join the force each and every day. My ex-girlfriend actually got into cigars because of me. She still smokes cigars today as well as her pipe, and yes we are still friends. Today we are seeing a huge increase in millennial women smokers unlike in the past.
What kind of cigars do we like ?
This is literally all over the place. This is the hardest part to write about, because people are so spastic about what they like. Of course I’m the same way, but I can’t speak for just myself, but from what my research has taught me and what I know from what my buddies smoke. We literally smoke everything but usually we stick to full body maduros and medium habanos, but then there are some guys and gals who enjoy the infused and flavored variety.
The people I polled, smoke boutique rather than the big box companies. I define big box companies to be those like Padron, Fuente, and Drew Estate. In contrast, boutique lines are those like Foundation, Espinosa, Caldwell, and La Barba. In the end though, I’ve found we smoke everything under the sun, and a good smoke is a good smoke.
Millennials are Social
Millennials are socially connected and we use the platform to document our lives. We like to post our cigar business across social media platforms. We are not tied to a single platform. Out of all the people I polled, I found that they use everything including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
I asked my poll and local friends if they think cigar selfies were a millennial thing, and we all agreed it was. Without the ease of a camera we could easily hold in your hand the cigar selfie would’ve never came to light.
When asked if you prefer to smoke at home or at a shop I found as most people in my age bracket would rather smoke at the shop than at home. Some don’t even smoke at home. When it comes to cigar events, the response is unanimous. Everyone I know and everyone I polled love cigar events. Regardless if it’s with the owner of the company or just the rep, everyone I know loves events. I mean who doesn’t? Deals, swag, and a great hang.
Online or print?
We millennials don’t do much with paper anymore, and for our cigar based knowledge we prefer to use the online forums, blogs, like you’re reading now, online magazines, and more. We may have grew up with magazines, but we prefer digital.
What’s with the beards?
Fear the beard? Why are there so many millennials wanting to have a full beard, or some type of facial hair at all times? I mean even I fall into this category, and I enjoy having my beard, but every now and again like today I shave it off. I don’t think it’s about fear, but I think the beard style is a phase, somewhat like the mullet, but unlike the mullet it looks so much better, but that’s just my opinion.
What about the old timers?
I’m closing with my favorite part of this article. This part I am going to put some of my own personal experience into. Everyone I have talked to have said they love to talk to old timers, or more experienced people who have been smoking for a long time. Their knowledge is invaluable. My experience with this is some of my best friends I have ever made are older guys that I regularly smoke with. There friendship and wisdom is what helps drive the industry.
What brought us to the cigar culture?
Here are is why millennials started smoking and why they continue smoking after they began.
I smoke because it is my way to relax and slow down my nerves from anxiety. I started smoking originally because i thought it made me look like a boss but as i grew into the hobby its my lifestyle and many in the cigar community are extended family now. When i say cigars are my lifestyle i have cigar life tattooed on my stomach. – Mike Holmes
I started because my dad has been smoking since I can remember and I’ve always loved the smell. I wanted to see what the hype was about. And now it’s just how I wind down, relax, enjoy a moment. Cigars have essentially become my yoga. – Austin Carroll
Great questions. I smoke cigars because it is a great way to relax after a stressful day on the job. I work in the delivery business so at times, it can be very fast-paced and strenuous. Hence, when I am sitting on my balcony in the evening or socializing at a B&M with fellow patrons, I always have a cigar to end my day on a positive. My 1st cigar was a custom handrolled stick that my uncle had purchased for a family gathering. I fondly remember enjoying it with my uncles around a bonfire in the evening. It was very mild but was a great stick for my 1st. Months later, I was chatting with the company vp about cigars since he is a long-time cigar smoker. He gave me some tips on cigars and even gave me my 1st Undercrown stick. Smoked it and loved it. Since the, I’ve been enjoying cigars for the past 3 years and will continue to do so in the future. – Zack Powers
Good question. I got started on cheap drug store stuff in college but quickly founded a cigar club at my university with friends and really got into it for the social aspect. All of the founders of that club are still close friends almost 15 years later and we still keep in touch with the current members too. Now it is still social, and when I smoke alone it is a meditative thing or relaxing. – Rob Swafford
I started smoking cigars when Zach actually introduced me to them. Smoking a cigar, or a pipe for that matter isn’t about the smoking all the time. It’s about the connections you make with people and the conversations you have with people of all ages. –Taylor Rye
Curiosity I guess, I have always enjoyed dipping Copenhagen original (never cared much for any other dip I’ve ever had) because it had the dark, bold and savory flavors I love. Did some reading into cigars and decided it was worth a shot. Been enjoying them ever since. – Sam Dalton
I enjoy smoking cigars because I love the complexity the flavor I first enjoyed a cigar with my dad when I was 16 can’t remember exactly what I wanna say a Macanudo and then every time i golfed with my grandpa. I smoked off and on from 16-21 then started smoking more and more but really the past three years I have picked it up heavily. – Andrew Churchill
In closing I really enjoyed talking with my millennial friends at Cigar Room Shoals, polling people from Cigar Cartel, and writing this article. For those of you who aren’t millennials hopefully this gives you an idea of who we are, what we like, and how we contribute to this great community. I hope you enjoyed this article and be on the look out for more cigar reviews and more from me soon.
Some people think that we millennials are lazy, but I am here to tell you that we are not lazy. Take me for example. I write for the wonderful website of Stogie Press, but that isn’t my full-time job. There are days I work 16 hours a day at work. I have friends that are in the same boat, so the cigar smoking millennial is not lazy. We can’t be. That’s why we have the disposable income we have.
Why did I start smoking? Well it’s interesting. I tried cigars because my whole family were heavy cigarette smokers, I know cigars weren’t bad for you, so I thought why not. It first started as just a once and awhile type deal and developed several years ago into an everyday occasion nearly. It’s something I love and have a serious passion for. I love the whole community and enjoy what I get out of smoking. It’s something I never plan to stop. – Zach Riley