It’s tough to forget a name like Drunk Chicken Cigars. Entrepreneur Desiree Sylver founded the line in 2019 and has been “making every cigar with love” ever since. If there’s one thing a long-time cigar enthusiast like Desiree isn’t, it’s all business all the time. She talks about life in the cigar industry, knowing how to laugh, and building a solid organizational foundation as the key to success. But would she marry a cigar? Maybe.
The First Premium Smoke
Cigar Life Guy: Tell us about your first premium cigar experience.
Desiree Sylver: I’ve been smoking cigars for twenty years, but the first time I fell in love with a cigar and recognized “this is perfect” was about seven or eight years ago when I smoked a Padron. I took the band off and put it on my finger and thought, “I could marry you!” (laughs) I was at home at the time. I woke up to cigars at that moment, but I had been smoking them for ten-plus years before that.
The Business of Friends
Cigar Life Guy: You have a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. How has that been an asset in the cigar industry?
Desiree Sylver: The cigar industry is just like any industry in terms of business. I apply my business acumen and leadership to Drunk Chicken Cigars. I don’t look at it like the cigar industry is different. Although there are some differences. The culture is different– the people are friendlier. But the same business principles apply.
Women, Cigars, and Knowing How to Laugh
Cigar Life Guy: The cigar industry has become more welcoming to women. What advice would you offer to women entering the industry and women who smoke cigars?
Desiree Sylver: First, take it slow and ask many questions. In fact, feel free to ask a lot of questions. Pay attention to what you’re smoking and what you like about it. Think about what you are getting from it regarding body and flavor. So the next time you buy a cigar, you can say- it’s too strong, and you need something lighter, or if something is too spicy, you can say, “That’s too spicy. Can I try something else”. You have to be able to ask so you’re able to talk about your next cigar when you go to a lounge. People are really helpful. Reach out to people. Talk to them.
Drunk Chicken Cigars Integrates with Cigar Life
Cigar Life Guy: The Drunk Chicken is an unmistakable name. So is Mother Clucker! How is having a strong sense of humor an asset as an entrepreneur?
Desiree Sylver: When you get stuck, you can laugh and joke about it. You’re not going to feel defeated. A sense of humor helps build that resilience that you need to continue. Business is hard. I can tell you regularly I want to give up, but then I have to laugh about it. I talk to my friends, and we joke about all kinds of things that hit me over the head as a businessperson in the cigar industry. Having a solid sense of humor is helpful because when the bad times hit, it will help you continue moving forward.
Cigar Life Guy: Drunk Chicken came about when sitting around with friends at your free-range chicken farm. What is it about cigar life that brings people together?
Desiree Sylver: The cigar lifestyle started with a celebration. It was always that thing you brought with you to celebrate. The cigar was the “icing on the cake.” It’s what you go to when you can say, “We just won the Super Bowl – let’s have a cigar. We just won the World Series– let’s have a cigar. We just landed that big business merger- let’s have a cigar, let’s celebrate.”
The celebration brings people together in happy times. So I think the people in the cigar industry took that and started with “happy” and “celebrations.” Then it continues into relaxation and enjoyment. And that’s why I believe people in the cigar industry are so friendly.
It would be best to have a lot of disposable income to continuously go to cigar lounges. You’re going there to escape work and the hustle and bustle. You’re going there to relax, have camaraderie with friends, and celebrate the day or week and your experiences.
The Future of Drunk Chicken Cigars
Cigar Life Guy: What’s Next for Drunk Chicken Cigars?
Desiree Sylver: Well, we’re working on another line right now. I hope to get that out by the PCA (Premium Cigar Association Trade Show in July). We’ve had a lot of back and forth with it- to tweak the blend. And we are also looking into opening a lounge by 2024.
I want to continue to ensure that Drunk Chicken is a stable company. In fact, I always think of it as the three little pigs, and I need a brick house so when the big bad wolf comes, he can’t huff, puff, and blow my house down. Therefore, I’m focusing on my organization’s structure and foundation to ensure that Drunk Chicken is around for the next generation.
Cigar Life Guy: Tell us anything else you’d like the cigar world to know.
—: Don’t forget to start your day the Drunk Chicken Cigar way! We have something for everybody. It’s an anytime-of-day cigar. I pride myself on having variety and having something that will fit most people’s palates.
We are 100% premium, hand-rolled, long-leaf filler, and all our cigars are made with love.
Photo credit: Drunk Chicken Cigars