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Southern Draw Cigars

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Stogies from a Veteran-Owned Company

As much as we love alcohol and caffeine, the “Veteran Vices” column was missing a critical element — tobacco. Fortunately, we were able to reach the kind folks at Southern Draw Cigars, based out of Austin, Texas. Southern Draw was founded by Robert and Sharon Holt. Robert spent 18 years in the Army in both the Signal Corps and the 101st Airborne.

But the business quickly grew into a family business that now includes six other members of the Holt family — a father, an uncle, siblings, and in-laws — every single one of whom is a retired U.S. Army NCO from one unit or another. But their veteran representation doesn’t stop with the Army. Also integral to the Southern Draw team are Phil Hogan, a retired Navy Petty Officer, and Daniel Peterson, who retired out of SEAL Team 1. Kyle Krall rounds out their team with 20 years as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent.

Having spent the majority of his adult life traveling in and out of Central and South America, Robert feels a deep personal connection to the people and community who bring the rest of the world fine cigars. He says, “… the art of tobaccos and handmade premium cigar production has always amazed me.


But it was the humble, hard-working hands of Nicaraguan people that was the true catalyst for the creation of the brand and subsequent family investments.” While their production partners hail from a smattering of countries from Cuba to Honduras to Mexico, much of their operation rests with the AJ Fernandez Cigar Company in Esteli, Nicaragua — widely renown as one of the world’s premier regions for cigar production.

In each installment of this column, we aim to highlight the pay-it-forward nature of veteran-owned businesses as a whole, but Southern Draw truly goes above and beyond to include social responsibility and charitable contribution as part of their brand culture and daily operations. Their 300 Hands line was brought to market specifically to highlight the stories and struggles of the native Nicaraguan families who work in the fields and factories that produce Southern Draw cigars.

The company’s standing goal is to reinvest 25 percent of their profit from this line back into the communities that make the cigars themselves. Their IGNITE campaign is a partnership program with select cigar retailers to choose a new charity each year, and then produce a new line of cigars specifically intended to raise money for said charities. Past recipients of IGNITE donations include Cigars For Warriors and the Navy SEAL Foundation.

They were kind enough to send us more than a half-dozen different cigars from their various lines. At time of writing we have not had the chance to smoke them all (why rush?!), but so far their Jacob’s Ladder and the 300 Hands maduro are both excellent full-bodied smokes at eyebrow-raising price points for the quality. The six-dollar 300 Hands stick could easily compete with cigars three times its own price point.

If you fancy a fine stogie every so often … or every day … please check out Southern Draw and support not only the veteran brotherhood, but also the hard-working families from around the globe who give us this most refined Veteran’s Vice…

Southern Draw Cigars

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