Welcome to our annual winter newsletter!
All of us at LBD wish you a warm holiday season filled with happiness and joy. Because of your loyal patronage over the past twenty-three years, you have become a part of our family, and we are truly grateful for the business you continue to bring us. It remains an honor and pleasure to deliver our Kaua’i farm products to your stores and homes. Thank you!
We are excited to add another terrific product to the LBD family of coffee, cigars, honey and chocolate. For the past three years, we have secretly raised several test crops of Kaua’i corn and used it to distill bourbon. The results have exceeded our wildest expectations, and we can not wait for you to taste our success! Construction on the farm grist mill and distillery that will produce Wailua Bourbon for our new label, the Kauai Distilling Company, is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2017.
Despite our success, cumbersome federal, state and county regulations on small businesses have proved challenging over the past year. While LBD is no different than other small farms, regulation has prevented us both from expanding our product lines and creating much-needed jobs here on Kaua’i. Because of its over reliance on taxes generated by tourism, high government employment and social welfare programs, Hawai’i remains the most business-unfriendly state in the nation. To make matters worse, politicians continue to ignore and in some cases support the continuing abuse of the “made in Hawaii” label. Those who love Hawai’i’s truly locally-grown products must be vigilant: There is no government-enforced guarantee that the coffee, macadamia nuts, cigars or fruit purportedly made or grown in Hawai’i actually come from the Islands. Imposters operate with impunity.
The most serious obstacle facing the Kauai Cigar Company is the continuing disparity in Hawai’s state tax code. A 50 percent wholesale tax with no cap is levied on Hawai’i-made cigars. The state legislature has so far been unwilling to enact a much-needed tax cap a proposal that has already passed both houses of the legislature over the last four sessions before dying in committee that would allow local cigar businesses to pay the same taxes as its foreign competitors pay on their cheaper, mass-produced cigars. A tax cap is sensible, and it would level the playing field for local producers. The Hawaii Cigar Association will continue to lobby the state to take its finger off the scale in favor of out-of-state and foreign competitors.
At the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration continues to treat premium cigars the same as all other tobacco products. Though premium cigars do not pose as great a risk to youth as other tobacco products do, the FDA insists on one size fits all regulations. No new cigar may be released without FDA approval; the administration also must approve gifting free cigars to charity or to military personnel. Warning labels covering 30 percent of the area of our beautifully designed cigar packaging will also be mandatory, as will product registration, user fees and lab testing of cigar blends. Steep legal fees to comply with new rules by the deadlines will be unavoidable.
Despite these challenges, the Kauai Cigar Company is thrilled to announce after several years of development the release of two new brands: Ku’e and Wai’ale’ale. We’ve also added new sizes to our existing Island Prince, Hawaiian Vintage and Makaleha blends. With more than twenty different shapes and sizes spanning seven brands, including the all-Kaua’i-grown and -made Grand Ali’i, we have developed an incredible portfolio of cigars. Customers can take advantage of a great holiday deal by purchasing ten-count sample packs for $75 that include an assortment of cigars from the various brands. All profits from these sales will be devoted to both our tax cap lobbying and FDA compliance efforts. Order before December 24 to receive FREE SHIPPING on orders of three packs or more! Call 1-800-750-KONA (5662) to purchase cigars through this offer. To purchase a box any of our brands, visit www.kauaicigar.com.
In other news from the farm, we’ve hauled in a bumper crop of Blair Estate organic coffee. The mill is running full-bore to process thousands of pounds of new-season coffee. The quality has been exceptional, with very few floaters and excellent bean density, size and quantity.
We’ve also planted more cacao trees and expect to add chocolate to our menu of offerings once our agricultural processing facility has been constructed. Cacao has proven exceptionally difficult to grow, and we are excited to begin producing gourmet chocolate for sale.
The honeybees on our farm have proven themselves to be incredible and fairly maintenance-free pollinators for our coffee orchard, making them a farmer’s best friend! We’ve harvested hundreds of pounds of honey for sale along with our certified organic Blair Estate coffee. Please visit www.coffeetimes.com to purchase either for the holidays.
Thank you again for your loyalty to LBD and for your continued business. All of us, including myself, Gigi, Jessica and Jorgen, farm managers Tai and Trevyn, dedicated sales staff Lei and Donald, and hard-working farmers Guillermo, Mike, Kaupena, Shawn, Scott and Shanan promise to continue bringing you the finest Kaua’i grown products!
Aloha and we wish you the very best in 2017!