For the third year in a row, Micallef Cigars opened up its company headquarters to its Ambassadors, brick-and-mortar partners, and friends.
The Open House weekend takes place in mid-September when the company celebrates what it has termed Micallef Independence Day. Back in September, 2020, Micallef Cigars publicly severed ties with Cigars International, Thompson Cigar, and other e-commerce cigar businesses that were implementing pricing that were undercutting the brick-and-mortar community. The following year, Micallef would have the first Open House event, and it has taken place each year since.
The Ambassadors remain a big part of what Micallef does. Micallef established the Micallef Ambassadors community back in 2019. The company describes the Ambassador community as “a community of cigar enthusiasts who share an admiration for the traditions of premium hand-rolled cigars and the artisans who craft them.” Since the inception of the Ambassador community, Micallef has relied on them to help shape the company’s priorities, products, and direction. In fact, the Ambassador community played a role in helping shape the Open House event.
One big difference at the 2023 event was the inclusion of All Saints Cigars. Last month, All Saints Cigars joined forces with Micallef Cigars when the two companies combined their sales teams. All Saints Cigars co-owner Micky Pegg was in attendance for all of the Open House festivities and took his place alongside the leadership team of Al Micallef, Dan Thompson, Andy Yaffee, and Amanda Micallef.
The 2023 Micallef Open House Weekend incorporated three elements: a cigar dinner, a cigar crawl involving a visit to local brick-and-mortar retailers., and the actual open house event at Micallef Headquarters.
The cigar dinner was held at Reata Restaurant in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. Reata restaurant is owned by the Micallef family. Reata means “rope” and actually gets its name from the ranch from the 1950’s motion picture Giant which starred James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor. It also is the name for one of Micallef’s cigar lines. The first Reata Restaurant opened in 1995 in Alpine, Texas at a time when Al Micallef was looking for a good restaurant near his ranch and couldn’t find one. He took matters into his own hands and partnered to open Reata. A second restaurant was opened in downtown Fort Worth and is located in Sundance Square. A previous iteration of the restaurant was destroyed in 2000 when a tornado ripped through downtown Fort Worth. This iteration has been operating since 2002.
Reata Restaurant offers rooftop dining, so smoking was able to be permitted during dinner. The dinner incorporated Southwest/Texas-style cuisine and a wonderful view of Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth has been long known as “Where the West Begins,” and Reata Restaurant incorporates the theme. Fort Worth itself is an amazing and vibrant city, and many attendees for the weekend stayed in the Sundance Square area of the city – which is Ft. Worth’s unofficial epicenter.
Friday and Saturday saw a series of events take place at retail shops in the Fort Worth area. This was reminiscent of “cigar crawl” events where a group travels to different shops in a geographic area. The shops where events took place included Lake Worth Cigars, Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge, Wilde Cigar and Culture, and AME Cigar Lounge. All of these events were meant to promote brick-and-mortar establishments. It provided attendees a chance to interact with each other as well as interact with members of the Micallef team and retailers.
The main Open House event took place at Micallef headquarters located in Weatherford, Texas. Weatherford, Texas, is about 30 minutes west of Fort Worth, so the term “where the West begins” fits in well here. The city had an incredible charm and struck me as Heartland America meets the Old West. AME Cigar Lounge is located in Weatherford, so the event there preceded the Open House.
The Open House was hosted at Micallef Headquarters and was held directly in the warehouse space. The evening featured a tour of the Micallef facilities, a catered dinner from Reata restaurant, games, raffles, and plenty of smoking.
Perhaps the most interesting thing was when the fire alarms were set off – and this led to the local Weatherford Fire Department arriving on the scene. They posed for a picture with the attendees and the Micallef team.
The Micallef Open House weekend is quite a unique event. What I would tell people is this isn’t an event where you will load up on cigars like a cigar festival, but it brings an experiential component that combines Texas hospitality with camaraderie with other cigar enthusiasts and members of the Micallef team. Micallef has certainly built what I consider to be the strongest Ambassador community I’ve seen in the cigar industry, and that fed into the vibe of the event. The backdrops of downtown historic Fort Worth and the heartland feel of Weatherford, Texas enhanced the experience even more.
The year three event was this author’s first time attending, and I look forward to attending more of these. I expect the potential for the future of the event to evolve is quite bright.
Originally posted on September 21, 2023 @ 6:18 am