PDA Q&A: Ismail Houmani, E-Interview

President and CEO, La Casa Cigars and Lounge, Detroit


Ismail Houmani

DB: Where are you?

IH: I am in Havana, Cuba, attending the Habanos Festival. It’s the annual convention for Cuban cigars, and I went with a humanitarian permit for cultural experiences.

DB: What’s it like there?

IH: It’s amazing. In addition to attending the festival, I’m visiting a lot of art museums, churches, and monuments. For the Habanos Festival, you have the opportunity to meet with all of the distributors of Cuban cigars from around the world. This year the festival coincided with the 50th anniversary for Cohiba (a cigar brand). I attended the Gala Dinner and Humidors Auction, which is a black-tie event where they raffle off humidors at the dinner.

DB: What was the bidding like?

IH: There were seven humidors that were auctioned off, including one that was especially made to recognize Cohiba’s 50th anniversary. That particular humidor had 50 cigars in it, and it went for 320,000 Euros ($362,000). The other six humidors went for between 75,000 ($85,000) and 150,000 Euros ($170,000). 

DB: What changes are you seeing?

IH: I noticed it’s getting a little more expensive. Cuba doesn’t have the infrastructure yet, but there are more tourists arriving every day. Where I used to pay 80 Euro ($90) for a hotel room in Havana, now it’s closer to 250 Euro ($283) a night. It’s still a country frozen back in time. If the market for Cuban cigars opens up in the United States, the prices are bound to go up. Right now, Cuba has the capacity to produce close to 100 million cigars (a year), while the demand for cigars in the U.S. is over 300 million cigars a year. 

DB: Where did you tour?

IH: I visited the tobacco fields in Pinar del Rio, where the finest tobacco in Cuba is grown. I talked to some of the growers, and unfortunately (last year) they planted the seeds earlier than normal because the weather was good, and then they had lots of rain, so they planted the seeds again and the same thing happened. Hopefully they have a better crop this year. Overall, I see lots of great things ahead for Cuba.  

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

PDA: Q&A Peter J. Ginapolis

The E-Interview Peter J. Ginapolis, Vice President, LSG Insurance Partners, Bloomfield Township

PDA: Q&A Kyle Lindenboom

The E-Interview Kyle Lindenboom, Senior Account Planner, Latcha + Associates, Farmington Hills

PDA Q&A: Van Conway, E-Interview

Interview with Founder and CEO of Van Conway and Partners in Birmingham.

PDA Q&A: Michael Angelo Caruso, E-Interview

Interview with owner of Edison House in Royal Oak.

PDA Q&A: Alan Jay Kaufman, E-Interview

Interview with CEO of H.W. Kaufman Financial Group in Farmington Hills.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. BravoBravo! Fundraiser Returns to Detroit Opera House
    BravoBravo!, a black-tie gala fundraiser for capital improvements at the Detroit Opera House,...
  2. Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital Recognized for Pulmonary Fibrosis Expertise
    Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit has received a national designation recognizing its expertise in...
  3. Chicago-based Audit, Tax, and Consulting Firm RSM US LLP Opens Detroit Office
    RSM US LLP, a Chicago-based provider of audit, tax, and consulting services, Friday announced the...
  4. Report: Home Sales Down Year-over-year in Metro Detroit, Sales Prices Rise
    Metro Detroit home sales are down 6.6 percent year-over-year while the median sales price is up...
  5. Faurecia in Auburn Hills Invests in Silicon Valley Wireless Charging Company
    Auburn Hills’ Faurecia today announced it has invested in Powersphyr, a Silicon Valley...
  6. SME Opens New World Headquarters In Southfield
    SME, the 86-year-old nonprofit manufacturing association, announced the relocation of its world...