Ted’s Cigars, a branded cigar company, moves into the Highlands

Ted Jackson, Jr.

Ted Jackson, Jr.

Late last year, the 25-year-old Ted’s Cigars (aka Ted’s Made by Hand), a wholesale and online seller of several lines of premium cigars, quietly moved into the old Falls City Brewery building where Barret Avenue and Lexington Road converge. The company imports cigars from a manufacturer in the Dominican Republic, and flavors and brands them for celebrities and other companies. It also produces its own “ted’s” line of cigars.

Ted Jackson, Jr., who founded the company, gave us a tour of the swanky offices, which are still undergoing renovation. The company HQ was previously on Frankfort Avenue.

Who licenses branded cigars? If you’ve been to the Maker’s Mark Distillery, or any gift store specializing in bourbon, you’ve probably seen the wax dipped glass tube that features their branded cigar. Its infused with Maker’s Mark bourbon. Jim Beam, Sam Adams and Grand Marnier also have signature cigars.

Churchill Downs has partnered with Ted’s. NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.® (yes, his name is apparently a trademark) offers the “88” cigar. And the guys from Duck Dynasty also have partnered with Ted’s. Their brand, Duck Commander, “represents a way of life; one of faith, family and the opportunity to live off the land,” according to the website. (That “living off the land” thing is a bit of a stretch. Duck Commander took in $40 million in 2012.)

Louisville businessman a big Koch Brothers donor

James A. Patterson

Jim Patterson

New data has emerged revealing that Louisville-area businessman Jim Patterson is among the biggest donors to a war chest created by the famed, or infamous, Charles and David Koch. As revealed by the Institute for Southern Studies, Patterson is one of several southern donors who have contributed to the Kochs’ Freedom Partners Action Fund, a so-called “super PAC” that raised more than $23 million in independent expenditures to go toward bolstering conservative U.S. House and Senate candidates in the 2014 election cycle.

Patterson, who donated $200,000, was one of 15 businesspeople from the South who donated more than $100,000 to the super PAC in 2014.

The Institute for Southern Studies reports the Kochs’ political actions, in case you couldn’t have guessed, were focused on issues such as removing environmental regulations and getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. The report also says that earlier this year, the Kochs said they planned to spend $900 million on the 2016 elections — way more than the entire Republican Party spent in 2012. The Koch brothers’ combined wealth was estimated by the group at $86 billion.

Patterson is well-known in Louisville. He most recently made news for buying the Boca Raton, Fla., home of Dennis Kozlowski, the disgraced former CEO of Tyco International. Patterson picked up the property for $10.25 million.

Though he’s had a long and extraordinarily successful career in business, the self-made Patterson isn’t a high-profile guy (beyond providing the funding and name for U of L baseball’s Jim Patterson Stadium, for one). He grew up poor in Louisville, earned a baseball scholarship to U of L, and went on to open the Jerry’s chain of restaurants. He also founded Long John Silver’s, which today is a huge national chain, as well as Western Restaurants Inc., which operated scores of Wendy’s. And he played a founding role in a number of other businesses, including Chi-Chi’s Mexican restaurants, AmeriCall and First Phone, and Rally’s.

In April, Patterson and two partners sold Western Restaurant’s 39 Wendy’s franchises to BTH Restaurants, which is owned by another U of L athletic alum, Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman. Patterson will remain at BTH, though his partners retired from the restaurant biz.

Calls to Patterson were not returned.