Alex Svenson: Jon, thanks for joining me today. I don't have to tell you this, but your Liga Privada brand is one of the best-selling cigars on the market - can barely find it in stock anywhere. Now you rolled out Undercrown; is that a Liga Privada of the same caliber?
Jonathan Drew: It is definitely true that Liga Privada changed the way people think about Drew Estate Tobacco Company, but it also caused some issues for us at the same time. As the brand hit an iconic cult status in and of itself, many of our supporters became upset since we couldn't supply enough of the brand. This was never meant to be the case, as we only released Liga Privada to 50 accounts nationwide from day one. We could never have anticipated the demand for this boutique brand. Now to answer your question, Yes, Undercrown is loosely considered part of the Liga Privada family for "certain reasons."
AS: Certain reasons?? You're being a little cryptic here. Care to elaborate?
JD: Of course. To put it simply, Liga Privada No. 9 comes wrapped in a Broadleaf Ligero leaf from the Connecticut River Valley -- super premium and limited leaf. As I mentioned earlier, we fell short on supply versus demand for Liga Privada since we refused to sacrifice quality for quantity. To make matters worse, we realized our buncheros on the factory floor were smoking Liga Privada like they were going out of style. We have hundreds of buncheros and free cigars are a perk for them at our factory...so we simply asked them to stop smoking Liga Privada and they understood the situation.
AS: So your factory guys are smoking your limited product because they are allowed to... so you tell them to stop, and just like that they stop? What am I missing here?
JD: Ha! Yes, brother, indeed. Sorry for the big build up and all that, but you know that I'm a simple man who likes to make everything more complicated than necessary. Anyway, this is where things got magical on the factory floor. A few of the best Liga Privada buncheros and supervisors created their own blend that drove everybody in the factory crazy. I mean, Steve Saka, Nicholas, Marvin, me, my dad; everybody was impressively shocked by the blend - and we all called it Undercrown. We had to make a few thousand of them and taste them over the following year and a half to ensure they aged as beautiful as the No. 9. We were blessed on this one, and Liga Privada Undercrown was born.
AS: What a great story. So why did you decide to keep Undercrown in the Liga Privada family?
JD: Undercrown is a function of resource, isn't it? When the Drew Estate production floor could no longer smoke Liga Privada No.9, they became resourceful and looked to the same tobaccos as Liga Privada No.9, same vintages of leaf; but used parts of the plant that we had not been using for the base Liga Privada No.9 blend. So, simply put, Undercrown is made from the same tobaccos, same crops completely as is Liga Privada No. 9, just from different primings of the plant.
AS: Jon, thanks for all the great info on Liga Privada. We understand you have a bunch of different aliases. Want to share your list with us?
JD: Sure. JD, JDizzle, Snacki, Green Hero, Valle Verga, Section 8, Punky, and Fat Chop. Please look for my Facebook profile as "Jonathan Drew" and "Jonathan DrewTwo." Both are really me, not some housewife somewhere who is a social marketer.