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News: 2017 IPCPR Cigar Trade Show Ushers in New Era

28 Jun 2017

In two weeks the annual International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Trade Show will be in full swing. In more than one ways, this year’s show represents a new era. Here’s why:

New Venue

Although the Trade Show isn’t held every year in Las Vegas, there is little question the Las Vegas Sands Expo Center has been its de facto home for the past decade. The convention was originally set to return there again this year. However, late last year IPCPR announced not only was the show being moved up five days, it was moving up The Strip (and a block off it) to the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).

While the LVCC is larger than Sands Expo, it is also off The Strip, meaning transportation to and from the venue is more challenging. The Sands Expo is attached to both the Venetian and Palazzo hotels. While the LVCC isn’t attached to a hotel, it is across from the Westgate Resort and Casino (formerly called the Las Vegas Hilton), which is the primary hotel for this year’s event and host to most of the opening day seminars and the breakfast featuring former New York mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. If the new location goes off without a hitch, it could be a win in the long run for IPCPR since they would have two proven locations in Las Vegas.

New Regulations

Last year’s Trade Show took place weeks before the FDA regulations went into effect. Now, even though some enforcement has been delayed, the rules are in effect. The IPCPR has announced that the FDA’s ban on samples for consumers doesn’t effect samples at the convention since the show is only open to the industry and not to the public.

The biggest part of the rules, however, will have a large impact on the event. Usually, numerous new cigars are announced or debuted at the Trade Show, but the FDA rules mean cigars introduced after August 8, 2016, need to go through an FDA approval process before they can legally be sold. It also means cigars introduced since early 2007 will eventually need to either win FDA approval or be removed from the market. One of the interesting things to watch for is how many post-2007 cigars are removed from manufacturers’ offer sheets, especially in light of some hope in the industry that the regulations could be scaled back by the new administration or through litigation.

New Releases

Since any new cigars will need to go through a yet-to-be-defined FDA approval process, there won’t be any new cigars at the Trade Show, right? Not exactly. Since last August, and especially in the past few months, we’ve seen a steady number of “new” cigars announced, with many scheduled to debut at the upcoming show.

Cigar manufacturers knew the regulations were coming and they’ve planned to mitigate the regulations as best they can. One of the ways they’ve done this is though stealth cigar releases prior to the August 2016 deadline. While these cigars may have been sold to a friendly retailer to establish they were on the market in advance of the cutoff date, they haven’t been formally or widely released. This will account for many of the “new” cigars that will be available for the first time at the Trade Show. That said, the number of new releases compared to previous years will be something many observers will be watching closely.

Patrick S

photo credit: IPCPR

4 Responses to “News: 2017 IPCPR Cigar Trade Show Ushers in New Era”

  1. Ric46 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    It seems there is no shortage of new cigar news on the cigar blogs (including this one), much like years past in the lead-up to IPCPR. It can’t be that all these are stealth offerings, can it? If not, how do you explain all the introduction announcements? What am I missing?


    • Aaron Loomis Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 10:19 am #

      You can speed on the freeway when the Highway Patrol isn’t around, right?

      I would say that it’s safe to assume that some of these new cigars/brands didn’t get the small release before the deadline and the paperwork is put together afterwards. How hard is it to pre-date an invoice?

      • The Stogie Guys Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 10:50 pm #

        Of course, no one is going to admit to introducing a cigar that violates FDA rules if you are correct (which you may very well be).

        That said, they would have pretty strong due process lawsuit if the FDA came after them for a cigar introduced before a process for FDA approval was even created. It will certainly be interesting to see how it all shakes out and how many “new” cigars are still on the market when the deadlines go fully into effect, if those deadlines do go into effect.

  2. Mike Friday, June 30, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    I’d expect most cigar makers are following the law and were able to to get these to market somewhere before the deadline. If it comes out that any cigar companies were breaking the law, the claim that “We’ve different than Big Tobacco” will be groundless and will hurt the industry’s case for regulatory relief. I’d hope they wouldn’t do it.