Cigar News: Dr. Gaby Kafie Steps Down as President of the Boutique Cigar Association

Dr. Gaby Kafie has announced he will be stepping down as the President of the Boutique Cigar Association (BCA) in order to focus his efforts on his business and family.

Moving forward I will always be a loyal servant to the cause “in protecting our industry” but for now, I need some time off.

The Boutique Cigar Association was founded for 1 basic principle:

“To protect and defend the rights of small family owned boutique cigar companies in the United States against FDA regulations. The idea was to create a platform that would serve as a voice for many small producers.”

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After 4 years of being active defenders and participants in the process of challenging the over-reaching FDA regulations on premium cigars, the BCA finds itself in a blessed position. The BCA goals in the short term have been achieved.

  1. The FDA is not enforcing all tobacco regulations on premium cigars. It appears that we have bought some time (2-3 years or more) from substantial equivalence testing. This is huge !
  2. The premium cigar industry through the efforts of Cigar Rights of America and the Premium Cigar Association along with countless business men and women from our industry have managed to properly define premium cigars in the eyes of the FDA. Yes, we are no longer lumped in with all other tobacco products.

In his statement to the industry Dr. Kafie stated:

As the founder of the Boutique Cigar Association, I have spent the past 4 years of my life helping our industry and small brand owners in ways that have led us to the beautiful place that we are at (where we can stay in business). The BCA was set up as a non-profit organization, and remained as such for the past 4 years. I have dedicated hundreds of hours and countless dollars defending our “family owned” business as well as other small premium cigar businesses.

I firmly believe the fight is not over, it never will be. In the near term there are no threats on the horizon. For this reason, I have decided to shift all of my focus to our business (Kafie 1901 Cigars & Kafie 1901 Coffee) and my family. I am officially stepping down as the head of the BCA, and the focus of the BCA will shift to a more social one.

There are a few individuals whom I would like to thank, they were the wind beneath our wings.

First and foremost, I need to start at the top with Glynn Loope . From day 1 that him and I meet many years ago, his passion and love for our industry (and defending it) was contagious. The man had dedicated his life towards this mission. He was a huge inspiration to me and to the foundation of the Boutique Cigar Association. We are where we are today because of his efforts.

Also, I will list many names of people who were the founding fathers of this fight. Last names only as they also represent their families and their companies.

  • Fuente
  • Padron
  • Patel
  • Rubin
  • Eiroa
  • Newman
  • Levine
  • Borysiewicz
  • Dababneh

To those I did not mention, I apologize. Let this be a wake up call of what we can achieve when we all come together.

To our original Board of Directors (Boutique Cigar Association).

  • Kerry Horney
  • Armen Caprielian
  • Fouad Kashouty
  • Joel Vazquez Marrero
  • Carter Skinner
  • Dalton Healy
  • Mike Palmer

I would like to take a moment to thank you all for your efforts towards achieving a de-regulatory environment. Special thanks to Kerry Horney and Armen Caprielian for their massive efforts in supporting the cause. Together we made a difference.

We achieved some great things over the past 4 years. We had some true challenges, historic ones. I say historic because the Boutique Cigar Association literally made history. Our voice mattered, our voice made the difference.

Dr. Kafie continues:

At this point I am officially stepping down from the role President. I have consulted with our fellow Board Members and they also agree that our goals for the present time have been achieved. The Boutique Cigar Association will cease to exist as a non-profit organization.

In light of the pandemic that exists and that has affected all of us in different ways, I am personally shifting my attention towards our business and our family. It was a tremendous honor to be the voice of so many boutique cigar companies. I am excited to know that we are no longer threatened by substantial equivalence testing (in the short term). Now is the time to take a break, and prepare for whatever battle may come next. The best way to prepare is to become stronger.

The Boutique Cigar Association moving forward will serve as a Social Platform for small cigar brands and producers. We’re going to make this a fun platform. In the months and years to come should we need to revive our lobbying efforts we will be bigger and stronger than ever before.

I have spoken to many individuals including Glynn Loope on this approach. Based upon that, I know that there is a legitimate role for the BCA to have in the political and regulatory process, now more than ever with the new administration in Washington, and a host of state issues in 2021. I want the BCA to be a voice for our small business community on these issues, and we will make ourselves available for those challenges and opportunities. That won’t change. We will play a support role for the PCA and CRA, now and in the future. Let’s consider this a reset moment to adjust our priorities and plan for the future.”

Thank you all for the privilege and the honor to represent family owned boutique cigar makers. Our goals were achieved (for now). I pray that your are all doing well, and that 2021 will be a positive year for us all, in light of the new challenges we are all facing.

Through our podcast, Protecting the Legacy we’re going to continue to highlight different brands, owners, and cigar industry topics relevant to small family owned business. Our focus is changing, now that our goals have been achieved. We are not going away, we are just evolving.

I pray for our community of cigar makers, brick and mortar retailers, online retailers, and connoisseurs. Please stay healthy and let’s help one another get through these difficult times we are facing with this pandemic. The road ahead will present new challenges to all of us. Together we can overcome anything.

I love you all, God bless.
Dr. Gaby Kafie
Founder and President

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