Happy birthday with a lifetime warranty to Kurt van Keppel. Kurt founded Xikar in 1996 with Scott Almsberger. They did that because they were not satisfied with the quality of the cigar cutters, both cheap and high-end, on the market in that era.
The goal of the duo was to design a great cigar cutter, both in function and ergonomics. And they came up with the Xikar Xi. The name Xikar comes from the original word for cigars, sigar. But then with an X, which represents the blades of a cutter. And the I for the Xi represents the cigar, with the dot as the clipping.
Scott designed the cutter and together they assembled them in Kurt’s garage. A year later, the now iconic cutters were mass produced and officially launched at the RTDA (now IPCPR). The patent was approved for design and utility, so the teardrop shape is protected forever. And the company changed the customer service in the cigar accessory industry for everyone, by offering a lifetime, no questions asked, warranty.
We are now 21 years later. Xikar is the largest brand in cigar accessories in the world. With the best lighters, the best cutters and other accessories. The Xi cutters are probably the worlds best-known cutters. But the Xikar XO cutter was another innovative shape and hit the markets hard. There are Xikar punches, Xikar cigar knives, and ultra-thin cutters. For a while, Xikar even had their own cigar brand.
In 2018, the large cigar accessories company Quality Importers acquired Xikar. But Kurt & Scott are still on board. As stakeholders, faces of the company, designers and Executive Vice Presidents. So we can still say happy birthday with a lifetime warranty to Kurt van Keppel.