State Stubs Out Mobile Cigar Lounge

CigaRV, aka "The Mobile Man Cave," was snuffed when the state refused to renew its license citing a new ruling for mobile tobacco retailers. The Concord-based company had been rolling since 2010 and will now likely be sold out of state.

A unique mobile cigar lounge based right here in Central Contra Costa County, CigaRV, is being extinguished after three years serving as the Bay Area's "Mobile Man Cave."

Owner Jack Grant, a Concord resident who has been writing a beer blog for Concord Patch, says he received a newsletter from the state Board of Equalization (BOE) in January, which included an update about a recent BOE ruling that bans mobile tobacco sellers.

According to BOE's interpretation of the California Cigarette & Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003, sellers of tobacco and cigarettes must have a retail license for each retail location, and "a 'mobile location' does not meet the definition of a retail location," the BOE newsletter explained.

Grant's license for the company could therefore not be renewed and his business smouldered to ashes.

CigaRV will likely be sold to a buyer out of state, says Grant, where tobacco laws are less rigid.

"And then I'll have to figure out what to do for a living," he added. 

Grant started his "Mobile Man Cave" in the summer of 2010 after his first cigar lounge business faltered. He came up with the idea that a mobile lounge would mean lower overhead costs and greater geographic versatility. He wouldn't have to bring customers to the lounge — he could bring it to them.

The bulk of the company's income came from private events such as bachelor parties, work shindigs, birthdays, tailgate parties and wedding receptions. But CigaRV was also welcomed by some Bay Area cities at local events, including brewery nights hosted by Creek Monkey Tap House in Martinez, the Livermore 'Taste of Downtown' and the Sugartown Festival and Street Fair in Crockett.

Grant says he's enjoyed running the business, which had been "well received" everywhere it roamed. 

Did you ever experience the "Mobile Man Cave"? Would you have liked to? What do you think of the ban on mobile tobacco retailers? Share your experience and opinion in the comments.

Bonnie Simone March 20, 2013 at 02:29 PM
If a mobile location does not meet the definition of a retail location then what do you call Taco trucks and mobile grooming trucks? Where does it say it has to be a "brick and mortar" store?
Emily Henry March 20, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Bonnie, it's just for tobacco retailers. If you're selling tobacco products, you have to have a fixed location.
Rage Ricin March 20, 2013 at 07:23 PM
This is one of the few downsides to living in Cali. I strongly support this business concept and would like to assist in any way I can in keeping it a viable business. Rather than outright sell the business, I'd strongly encourage Jack to reinvent/re-brand the concept. Alcohol and tobacco related businesses are tough to manage from the get go and to innovate a creative related business is an uphill battle. Its very unfortunate this tax revenue generating business is being forced out. I say, use this to your advantage and evolve!
Bob Daniel April 07, 2014 at 05:45 PM
I know I am late to the dance, but would it not satisfy the law to have a small store front where the retail business happens, then the mobile CigaRv is simply delivering the previously negotiated and paid for goods and services? The brick and mortar is satisfied, the license is good and I doubt there is a huge requirement for the hours the store front has to be open to do business. 90% or better could be internet reservations or however he has been arranging his calendar previously. Just a thought.


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