Cigar news: The sale of Thompson Cigars to the Scandinavian Tobacco Group has created quite the stir in the trenches of cigar businesses. Dire warnings of the demise of B and M’s throughout the country are being talked about as large corporations are buying up catalogue companies.
According to one blogger , Charlie Minato of the well-respected cigar site Half Wheel states:
“Most estimates suggest that the majority—likely a bit less than 65 percent—of cigar sales now happen through the major online/catalog retailers. It should be noted, a lot of these transactions are done in stores that companies like Cigars International, Famous Smoke Shop, JR Cigar, Holt’s, Thompson Cigar and others operate. But the important takeaway is that most cigars are no longer sold through a local mom-and-pop tobacconist.
One of those major retailers estimates that Thompson Cigar accounted for around 6 percent of total cigar sales in America. Now that 6 percent of sales is controlled by STG, which is also the company that sells your local cigar store Macanudos, Cohibas, Partagas, CAOs and others. Most problematically, it means that STG as a whole now controls over 20 percent of the total U.S. retail cigar market.
If you are an independent cigar store in Anytown U.S.A., that’s not good and it’s not going to get any better.”
Awhile back I had a conversation with David Weiss, the owner of the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge where I am a member about the future of B and M’s , the challenges they face with the evil FDA, local government influence and what cigars they offered.
For the total interview it is on my website, Urbanfishingpolecigars.com. Here are the salient points he was making.
He sells cigars that he knows that he can sell. Where he buys them is part of doing business so if he needs to work with vendors such as General Cigar he will.
Boutique cigars while popular in some circles, are challenging to sell as distribution , availability of the product and the price impacts his business.
His customer base is primary local and they buy from him because they like the service, his attention to detail and knowing what they like to smoke. He is aware the catalogue companies may offer better prices but not better service.
Charlie Minato makes some valid points. He further states,” just as a typical brick and mortar store might be conflicted about whether it should continue buying Macanudos and Montecristos, knowing that it ultimately helps companies that also own Cigars International and JR Cigar.”
How this all ties in for the future of the cigar business remains to be seen. The movers and shakers need to develop a blue print for all the pieces of the cigar industry. If the small operator’s fail because the large manufacturers and retailers make it too difficult for them to continue, it does not help anyone who cares about cigars.
The consumer must make it clear they are not going to support a takeover by the big boys. Smoking cigars remains a way to sit down, relax and hang with your friends. Buying cigars on-line is an option but then what?
Smoking in the streets , or a man cave is not the answer. Manufacturers and dealers better figure this out now. Cigar smoking is based on enjoyment and the experience of smoking with your buddies and meeting new people. You need to make a buck but killing part of the business is not the solution.
We are seeing these problems in Europe as well, not that the big companies are coming in, but that people much rather buy cigars online than come to us in the shops, not that we don’t give the bad service, we are probably the most liked shop in Sweden in terms of service but people are cheap and much rather order from somewhere else. This is hurting us most of all.
Then now EU is putting like an embargo on a lot of countries so we no longer can order from other countries, sure it sucks but at the same time it’s good for business since the consumers are forced to shop at the local stores. Sadly this also means the prices will go up since it gets harder to import cigars even for businesses that have to pay higher costs for bringing in new brands. For exempel for us to import a brand and let’s say 5 different sticks we have to pay for the cigars, the tax for them, shipping costs and registration of a new brand and sizes and formats. So for 5 different types we have to pay $2070 each so that racks up to $10350 just to registratur these new cigars. Then each year we need to pay $340 for each cigar just to keep them in the registret.
Yes these are the problems we are struggling with over in Europe.
Oh did I mention it’s illegal to send cigars as a private person most of Europe, if they catch a package they will fine you and destroy the sticks.
Sweden actually wants to be smoke free 2025, which doesn’t bode well at all, and even if we protest and tell them that cigars aren’t the same as cigaretter, vapes or other toxic products they wont listen.
The whole world is going to shit thanks to cigarette companies and peoples ignorance to actually care. It’s all about the money not about what cigars actually brings to the table of helping people out. So very sad to work so hard against it and know there is nothing you can do.
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