It's been close to 2 weeks since the news broke that 4 of the largest cigar manufacturers, including Davidoff, Altadis U.S.A., Drew Estate, and General Cigar Co., have withdrawn from participation in the 2020 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) trade show and convention this July in Las Vegas (see Four of the Largest Cigar Manufacturers Have Pulled Out From the 2020 PCA Trade Show). Since then, a number of manufacturers, cigar associations, and retailers have been releasing statements announcing their support of or withdrawal from the trade show.
Add ACE Prime Cigars to the roster of manufacturers who have committed to participation:
“Having the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the everyday heroes of our industry has proved to be a tremendous success for our brand,” said ACE Prime co-founder Luciano Meirelles. He continued, “at the 2020 PCA trade show, we’re excited to showcase our great cigars and launch new products.
"We have been producing award-winning cigars for some of the most high-profile brands in the industry for over 12 years. When it was time to launch our own brands, we decided PCA was the best place to leverage our existing relationships and also connect with retailers, boutique lounges, media partners, and experts, all in one place. PCA brings together the heart and soul of the cigar sector – it’s family, and we are truly grateful for the support of new brands – especially for making ACE Prime a success.
"We’re excited about the #PCA2020 (trade show). We’re doubling down on our commitment to the event and look forward to rising above the noise."
Today, Kretek International, Inc., the parent company of Tobacco Media Group (TMG), the publisher of Tobacco Business Magazine and owner of the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE), has announced its decision not to exhibit at the PCA trade show (which also impacts its subsidiary Ventura Cigar Company):
“We have always treated the PCA trade show as a smart launching pad for new releases and the best opportunity for retailers and suppliers to meet and build strong relationships,” says Sean Cassar, president of Kretek International, Inc. “We’ve enjoyed learning about industry trends while receiving some of the biggest orders of our year at the show. The decision to move away from PCA was not an easy one, but after reviewing the state of the industry and our business, we recognize that our goals are not aligned.”
According to Tobacco Business Magazine, Kretek went on to state that it believes that all cigar manufacturers and importer should be working together, willing to openly discuss and manage efforts, as part of the PCA rebranding initiatives. The rebranding efforts must direct the premium cigar legislative and regulatory endeavors in order to get the most benefit from the collective financial contributions made by the industry rather than splinter the industry into separate entities as is occurring this year.
Kretek International also questions the direction and focus of the PCA, which it says seems to “sacrifice segments of the industry inhales of saving others.” While the tactics may seem logical, the press release states, Kretek does not believe the end result will be favorable if the course isn’t changed.
“Our Canadian subsidiary operated under this exact pretense,” says Cassar in the press release. “And the results were devastating. Driven primarily through big tobacco’s efforts, the market went dark, cigar stores lost their ability to have smoking lounges, stores could no longer advertise products, and in the end the market went to plain packaging across all categories. Small, independent family businesses in this environment had taken the approach that it was better to give up an arm to save the body. But in the end the regulators took both the arms, the legs, and whatever else they could find. And we’re just not willing to go down that road-especially when we know the outcome.”
Below is the updated list of cigar manufacturers, associations, and retailers who have announced their commitment to or withdrawal from the PCA Trade Show.
Alec Bradley Cigars
Ashton Distributors Inc. (Ashton, La Aroma de Cuba, and San Cristobal)
Cigar Rights of America
J.C. Newman Cigar Co.
La Flor Dominicana
Oveja Negra Brands (Black Label Trading Company, Black Works Studio, Emilio Cigars, Dissident)
Rocky Patel Premium Cigars
Davidoff of Geneva
Famous Smoke Shop
General Cigar Co.
Kretek International, Inc. (Tobacco Media Group, Tobacco Magazine, Ventura Cigar Company)