25 Jul 2013
The battle for a space in a cigar shop’s humidor may be more competitive than most people realize. At a certain point, it’s simply impossible to add another blend or an additional size without removing another.
That battle for humidor space is what the annual cigar convention is all about. Cigar makers trying to convince retailers to add more of their products. Retailers trying to decide what will sell best.
Breaking out beyond the humidor is difficult for makers of premium cigars. Proper humidor care is a skill, and it’s not uncommon to see a humidor at a gas station full of dried-out cigars.
To address this, premium cigar makers have begun rolling out new, self-contained, humidified, single cigars. This is a growing trend that culminated at the recent International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Trade Show. If it’s successful, expect to see more.
General Cigar, Altadis, and Drew Estate have all rolled out sealed, single-cigar packs. And while most of the sort of cigar smokers who read this site will likely continue purchasing their cigars from cigar specialists, this is all about expanding the locations where premium cigars are sold. The packs claim to keep proper humidity for up to three years.
The idea is this: There are plenty of outlets (gas stations, convenience stores, etc.) where the occasional cigar smoker might pick up a cigar, but won’t because they don’t know if the cigar has been properly humidified. With a completely sealed and humidified bag, that person might pick up a few cigars for the golf course or his friend’s barbeque that he otherwise wouldn’t. Easy access and confidence in the cigar’s care could turn the once- or twice-a-year cigar smoker into someone who lights up more regularly.
Additionally, it can be a point of sale item for cigar shops. Humidor space is valuable and limited, but this way stores can carry additional cigars without having to remove any thing else from the humidor. Further, the cigar maker has a highly visible product that can serve as an advertisement for the entire brand.
General Cigar has rolled these out for their Macanudo, Punch, Partagas and Excalibur lines. Altadis has introduced Romeo y Julieta 1875, H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon, and Saint Luis Rey in “fresh-loc” sealed packaging (usually in a box). Drew Estate has its Acid infused line in “G-Fresh” packs, and discussed putting Undercrown in similar single-serve packs, but has decided against that for now.
photo credit: Cigar World