This year due to the COVID -19 pandemic, Espinosa Cigars held their annual, invite only, La Zona Palooza in a virtual format this month. Access to the event was offered to those that purchased one of three packages that got you some amazing deals on the company’s cigars and swag.
The event was held virtually on Facebook live and Zoom starting on Thursday and Friday (Nov 12 and 13) with each evening starting at 6:00 PM and ran till about 10:30 PM.
The first two hours of each day was Team Espinosa introducing sponsors and special guests that support the brand, included the likes of Guy Fiere, Jay Madison from Uncle Nearest Whiskey, Cigar DoJo, Abe Dababneh from Smoke Inn, The Protocol Cigar Crew, General Cigar, Best Cigar Prices, Famous Smoke Shop, and many more.
Special Guest Guy Fiere
Day one highlighted Guy Fiere where he talked about his love of the Laranja and he was really looking forward to coming out to Miami for the event before the COVID crisis. Erik and Guy will have something planned for La Zona Palooza 2021 #LZP2021. Guy also did a little story telling himself and had us all entertained for the time he was on. His love of the Espinosa brand and family shined brightly. In fact, news broke on the show that Guy and Erik will be collaborating on a new cigar to be known as the Flavortown, which is a nod to Guy’s mythical place and state of mind where fun and food meet in perfect harmony. I guess now we will add premium cigars to that!!
Special Guest Jay Madison – Uncle Nearest Whiskey
All the talk these days, when it come to Bourbon, is focused on Uncle Nearest Whiskey which dates back to 1856. Jay Madison, the company’s spokesman, joined the event and told the story of the company and how it is the first African American owned distillery. As told, it is inspired by the best whiskey-maker the world never knew, the first known African-American master distiller, Nathan “Nearest” Green. Available in all 50 states and 12 countries, it has garnered 75 awards since its July of 2017 debut.
Special Guest – Abe Dababneh from Smoke Inn
A big fan of Espinosa Cigars, Abe Dababneh the owner of Smoke Inn joined the event and spoke about how well the Espinosa brand sells in his shops. Abe also noted that his annual Great Smoke event will be virtual in 2021 as it is the first event of the year and the COVID issues may still be looming over us. For his event he said he hired a full production team to run the event and noted that we should all stay tuned for the announcement of ticket sales. He said he is planning an 8 hour event this coming February and expects it to be awesome event though it will be virtual.
Meet – Greet – Thanks
After the first 2 hours of Facebook live, the team switched rooms and hosted a live ZOOM session for another 2 plus hours where Erik and his team interacted with the audience, which was well over 100 participants. Having run my own ZOOM sessions, I will attest that is a large number and they managed it well. I would say by the end of the second day, Erik personally interacted with each participant, thanking them for their support of the brand, and reminding them if not for the consumer and retailers, he might be doing something completely different for a living.
Oodles Of Giveaways
Throughout the open ZOOM sessions there was numerous raffles that included gifts of cigars, branded accessories, and gift certificates. All in all, I counted 30 raffles, plus two bingo winners. Yes, each evening we played a game of bingo, hosted by Jack Torano. Each participant received a bingo card in their package that was used for both days. The winner on each night got a nice giveaway.
Many of the raffles featured the company’s newest offerings and collaborations including bundles of:
- 601 Snakebite
- 601 Gold
- 601 Black
- 601 Kryptonite
- 601 Steel
- 601 Warzone
- 601 Wick
- 601 Pennsylvania
- Protocol Cyber Crime
- Comfortably Numb
La Bomba Coin Collection
Erik introduced a new collection of La Bomba coins that are simply awesome. He noted that the collection will come as part of a unique sampler box that will also include samples of the original La Bomba blends. This limited collection will be available only at Espinosa lounges.
The Espinosa 601 Wick
During the event, Erik gave us a break down of the history of the new Espinosa 601 Wick, It was clear that the logo was designed to send a message that Erik will exercise his right to create and brand cigars as he sees fit. As for the Wick, it is a clear message to “a not to be named” individual. We will leave it at….Way to go Erik!
Espinosa Family Love
Throughout the event, many participants expressed their love and admiration for the Espinosa family for what they did to help in times of need. From support when someone was ill to working together to create collaborative blends to keeping production of swag in the extended Espinosa family, helping small businesses across the country. Espinosa Cigars is more than just a cigar company it is a truly a family and it shined in this event.
Some More Meet and Greet
Here is some more of the many happy faces that attended the virtual event. As I noted, Erik did his best to reach out to all those who attended and give each and every one a shout out. That is how Espinosa rolls.
La Zona Palooza 2020, though virtual in its format was well presented to the Espinosa Cigars consumers, retailers, and supporters. It ran for close to 9 hours over two evenings and had minimal technical glitches. Everyone that participated had fun and stayed through the duration, which shows that even in this time of a pandemic, cigar consumers will continue to find a way to enjoy the lifestyle we love so much.
Erik noted, that he and his team, sincerely hopes this is the first and last time using a virtual format for his annual event and has even bigger plans for 2021. If you want to be part of La Zona Palooza 2021, he reminded us to keep posting photos of Espinosa Brands on social media and start tagging them with #LZP2021. The team takes note of those that post and you may get an invite to next years live event which, as in the past, is free to attend if invited.
I hope to see you all in 2021 at La Zona Palooza!
In closing, Erik thanked all that participated and showed great appreciation for his sponsors for this years event.