2 Jul 2012
We’re one month away from 80th annual International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Trade Show, the convention where cigar makers from around the world gather to showcase their products, debut new creations, and interact with retailers.
As usual, StogieGuys.com will be covering the event to keep you abreast of the new smokes that will soon be hitting a tobacconist near you. Before we do that, though, I wanted to share three thoughts about what I’d like to see at this year’s trade show. After all, one month before the biggest cigar event of the year is an appropriate time to reflect on the state of the industry.
More Limited Editions
Many cigar makers, particularly those who don’t grow their own tobacco, have only enough tobacco to make a small run without sacrificing quality and consistency. So limited releases can be some of the best (if rare) cigars available. For that reason, I welcome more limited cigars, as long as they’re limited for a good reason and not just a marketing gimmick. Besides, if the FDA does end up regulating premium cigars, the disastrous, ill-conceived government approval process will likely be so costly that cigar makers will be forced to focus on large runs that they think would have mass appeal. I hope this doesn’t happen but, for this reason, I’d like to have the opportunity to collect more limited editions before the politicians and bureaucrats ruin everything. And if they get their way, you can bet they will.
More Support for Cigar Rights
Speaking of FDA regulation, you and I owe a lot of thanks to Cigar Rights of America (CRA), IPCPR, and all groups, individuals, and businesses who are fighting for the right to enjoy a cigar. Tobacco taxes, smoking bans, and harmful regulations will continue to pile up if they are not met with resistance. Recognizing this, many cigar makers have generously donated much time and money to the cause, and I hope this continues—especially at this critical juncture. Don’t forget that you can do your part as well. Make sure to support CRA and tell your friends and family to do the same. What happens over the next year at the federal level will have massive implications on the industry for years to come.
Focus on Comparative Advantages
Every year at the trade show it seems like every cigar maker has a handful of new lines to introduce. What’s new is sexy, and I understand this from a business standpoint. But we’re at the point where the market is saturated with new lines and blends. I can’t keep track of them all. And a lot of them, frankly, are duds that get forgotten before the summer’s even over. How many new cigars from last year’s IPCPR do you remember offhand? That’s what I thought. For this reason, I applaud those cigar makers who focus on a few lines and do them well year after year. Introduce a new blend when you’ve got something truly unique or when you’ve acquired an excellent crop of tobacco that you’ve never had before. Otherwise, focus on quality control and the blends you do best. This strategy may not be sexy, but I’d have to imagine it will yield good results in terms of revenue and reputation.
photo credit: Stogie Guys