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Camacho Cigar Bar Opens at Comerica Park

Christian Eiroa, the president of Camacho Cigars, admits he was never a big baseball fan. That was until the Camacho Cigar Bar opened at Comerica Park in Detroit. Now, Eiroa is a Tigers fan to the hilt.

Given the turnout of enthusiastic Motor City cigar smokers at the grand opening of the bar and lounge on June 23, Tigers fans are becoming Camacho fans, too.

"We're excited," said Eiroa, as the cigar bar filled with patrons and smoke. "We were going with our gut instinct on this. Cigar smoking is a social event -- you hang out, network, socialize -- so we wanted to create a place for the fans that is cigar-friendly."

As the number of cigar-friendly establishments continues to dwindle, Eiroa's instincts put the barrel of the bat on the ball. Before, during and after Detroit's game against interleague rival St. Louis -- the American League Central-leading Tigers, beat the Cardinals, 10-6, before a sold-out crowd -- the Camacho Cigar Bar was jammed with people. The bar was open, food was available, but most importantly, cigars were being enjoyed in an atmosphere outside the jurisdiction of the antismoking police.

The Camacho Cigar Bar is located on the Club Level of Comerica Park along the first-base side and is open to luxury suite owners and guests, and to any fan sitting on the Club Level or in the Tiger Den area. The bar is open two hours before game time and for an hour after the last out. The bar offers a wide array of high-end spirits, including Remy XO, lounge chairs and sofas and large screen televisions broadcasting the game. The real attraction is the full selection of Camacho cigars, including SLR Maduros and Tubos, Corojos and La Fontanas. Prices range between $6 and $12 and humidified cigar lockers are available.

According to Eiroa, the seeds of the deal were sown on Easter Sunday in Key West, Florida. Through a cousin, Eiroa heard that the Tigers organization was looking for a partner to run an existing bar and cigar lounge at the ballpark. Eiroa says that Detroit is a growing cigar market with several high-end retailers and no antismoking laws to contend with, but admits he still had reservations.

"I wasn't sure it was going to be a fit," he said, "but when I got here, when we walked into the bar, I knew it was what we wanted."

It was also what the Tigers wanted. "We envisioned a relationship that could bring this space to life and add value to the fans' experience," said Duane McLean, senior vice president of business operations for the Tigers. "Baseball is a relaxing sport, played at a slower pace, and enjoying a cigar and a drink goes along with that."

McLean added that, so far, the response has been fabulous. "We're very enthusiastic," he said. "We want fans to have a well-rounded experience when they come to the ballpark. Cigars reach out to another segment of our fan base and Camacho is enhancing the fan experience."

The relationship is also benefiting Camacho, as the company continues its marketing push to take the brand to a higher level while still operating as a small company.

"We are trying to generate the image we want," said Eiroa. "To tie the Camacho with winning."

With the Tigers in first place and fans eagerly lighting up Camacho cigars at Comerica Park, Eiroa is doing just that.

Source: Cigar Aficionado