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Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 399

12 Sep 2014

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post a mixed bag of quick cigar news and other items of interest. Below is our latest Friday Sampler.

Torano Logo1) General Cigar has announced it has acquired the brands associated with the Toraño Family Cigar Company. The move comes four years after Toraño re-launched itself at the 2010 industry trade show—taking back control of its own distribution from a conglomerate that housed Toraño under the same roof as General Cigar and CAO, and introducing a new logo (seen at right). Now, all Toraño brands will be folded into the General Cigar portfolio, and the Toraño Family Cigar Company will be dissolving. Reports are circling that Toraño’s staff will not be included in the acquisition, but has been unable to confirm with reliable sources. “There is a long-standing and proud history of partnership between General Cigar and Toraño, dating back to my family’s exodus from Cuba,” said Charlie Toraño. “There is no other company that I would rather have continue my family’s legacy, and I look forward to seeing the Toraño brands prosper under General Cigar’s expertise.” Later in the day yesterday, on Toraño’s website, Charlie had this to say: “The acquisition will provide me with more time to be with my family while still enjoying the pleasures of the cigar business. I will work with General Cigar to transition the brands to them. They are committed to learning the portfolio and maintaining the integrity of the cigars you have come to know and love. You can be sure that the blends will not change, the factories that make these incredible cigars will not change, and there are no plans to discontinue any of our cigars.”

2) It remains to be seen how General Cigar’s acquisition of Toraño’s brands will impact Leccia Tobacco, which is distributed by Toraño. Whether Leccia’s brands like White, Black, and Luchador were included in the deal is unknown. Yesterday, via Facebook, Sam Leccia responded to dozens of concerned commenters: “Gang, I have a multitude of options, no need to be concerned at all whatsoever.”

3) Inside the Industry: Nat Sherman announced it is opening a rooftop cigar lounge (with plenty of heaters for those cooler evenings) on top of the Knickerbocker Hotel overlooking Times Square in New York City. Meanwhile, Joya de Nicaragua announced that Arnold André will market, sell, and distribute Joya de Nicaragua cigars in Germany.

4) Deal of the Week: Act quickly to get this grab-bag special of 15 cigars for just $40. Smoke Inn lists the following brands as likely (though not necessarily) included: Toraño, Perdomo, Rocky Patel, Ortega, Nestor Miranda (old blend), SI House Blend, Camacho (old blend), Romeo Y Julieta, Gran Habano, La Aurora, and Montecristo.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Toraño

5 Responses to “Stogie Guys Friday Sampler No. 399”

  1. Wayne C Friday, September 12, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    A lot of people seem to be concerned about this. I have a few thoughts I'd like to see some feedback on.

    First, in just my own anecdotal experience, I don't see a lot of people smoking/talking about Toraño these days. Seems like back in 2000-2007, Toraño was more popular. I expect, at least among hardcore cigar guys, Toraño will be even less relevant now.

    Second, I can't tell if General changed the CAO blends after that acquisition, or if everyone just started thinking CAO isn't cool anymore since it's part of General. The new blends General has launched under CAO since the acquisition is another matter (I'm not a fan).

    Third, while I'm all for supporting smaller boutique operations, can we honestly say Altadis and General don't make good cigars? Do we truly believe Toraño is going to be all that different under General?

    I'm just venting…

  2. Dave Friday, September 12, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Sad to see a family business with significant history fall under the wheels of another conglomerate. With that said, I'm sure it's a tough business unless you are one of the in-vogue few, so maybe it's best to cash in and enjoy the money with family. Charlie was always very gracious at events, will be sad to have him no longer a major part. Mostly sad for the employees, especially those that just went through this with the CAO buyout. Hopefully there are opportunities with others who are currently expanding.

  3. George E Friday, September 12, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    I think there's almost always strong reaction when a behemoth buys a smaller operation, as you're seeing now in the gaming world with Microsoft efforts to buy Minecraft's maker. In recent years, Toraño seems to have been concentrating on the lower-price range, which I think probably accounts for what you're describing among the cognoscenti. As to what impact this will have on the cigars, I'd simply be guessing.

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