On January 10, news broke that four of the largest cigar manufacturers–Davidoff, Altadis U.S.A., Drew Estate, and General Cigar Co.–had opted not to exhibit at the 2020 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) trade show and convention this July (see Four of the Largest Cigar Manufacturers Have Pulled Out From the 2020 PCA Trade Show). The PCA trade show, formerly known as the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR), is arguably the largest premium cigar and pipe tobacco trade show and has figured in importantly to many manufacturers’ sales and marketing plans. The PCA 2020 trade show is set to take place at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, July 10-14. Hours after the aforementioned press release, the PCA itself, manufacturers and some retailers are chiming in on the announcement that some of the show’s largest exhibitors, representing some of the industry’s most iconic brands, would not be exhibiting in 2020.
This release prompted a response from Cigar Rights of America (CRA). CRA, as a coalition of consumers, retail tobacconists and family-owned manufacturers of premium handmade cigars announced its support for the PCA trade show, as well as the legislative and regulatory agenda that has been forged by the two organizations. In a press release, CRA’s executive director Glynn Loope commented:
“CRA has been built by the traditional family-owned companies that manufacture premium handmade cigars, and those same companies will support the 2020 Premium Cigar Association trade show. Now, more than ever, it is important for the industry to gather with its retail partners.”
Cigar Rights of America and the Premium Cigar Association have forged a common agenda for addressing threats posed by government at all levels. “This has resulted in critical stays, delays and reversals in regulations most threatening to the industry. CRA and PCA have expended a combined $4.5 million just on litigation against FDA regulatory oversight not to mention the millions spent on the legislative agenda. This litigation has benefited the entire industry,” Loope added.
Robert Levin, CRA’s board chairman added that the group’s member manufacturers will be working together with the group’s retail partners to strengthen the industry and protect premium cigar companies, and its customers and that this is why CRA will be attending the PCA 2020 trade show.
In response to the exhibitors who pulled out of the trade show, at around 10 p.m. EST on January 10, the PCA released the following statement:
"As you may have heard from today’s press releases, four companies announced they will not exhibit at PCA 2020. We want to assure you that the world’s biggest premium cigar and pipe show is on with over 110,000 square feet of space booked by hundreds of family-owned companies. The four companies not attending represent 12% of show space and, since the announcement, many exhibitors have reached out to PCA to secure booth space, potentially expand their footprint, or relocate to the vacated space.
"The PCA 2020 show will be full, with the family-owned manufacturers who support the brick and mortar retailers and whose products fill our humidors. It is more important than ever that family-owned businesses that built this industry come together. This year, PCA 2020 will have some exciting new features to showcase new products and help retailers and exhibitors create and enhance relationships. We will be rolling out new information in the coming weeks and months on those developments.
"The PCA trade show remains not only the most important business event in the premium cigar and pipe industry, but also our greatest asset in fighting back regulations on both state and federal levels. Your membership and attendance at the PCA trade show directly finances the industry’s legal challenges against the FDA. To date, along with our partners at Cigar Rights of America, we have spent a combined $4.5 million just on litigation against FDA regulatory oversight, not to mention the millions we spend every year on our legislative agenda. These efforts have benefited the entire industry.
"Our biggest priority remains focused on keeping a pathway for new products to come to market. After years of fighting, we are making some incredible new head ways in achieving major regulatory relief for the industry. For any member who would like to get more involved in the PCA and in serving on a committee, please contact PCA Executive Director, Scott Pearce."
PCA may have lost four of its biggest exhibitors in terms of square footage and spend but it has many exhibitors, large and small, who are still committed to the show. Padron, Tatuaje, Alec Bradley Cigars and J.C. Newman Cigar Co. are among some of the trade show’s exhibitors who have in some capacity re-affirmed their commitment to the trade show. On Facebook, Alec Bradley Cigars posted:
“Alec Bradley is in full support of the Premium Cigar Association and will be attending the upcoming show. We are excited to show everyone new products that we will be coming out with this year!”
Another manufacturer who will be in attendance at PCA 2020 is Arturo Fuente. Carlito Fuente, chairman of Fuente Companies, released the following statement:
“As we have for the past 50 years, Arturo Fuente will once again participate in the 2020 PCA Trade Show. Our commitment to retailers is a core value of our company and family, one that will never waiver.
“Since the 1970 RTDA show in New York City, my family has supported the RTDA/IPCPR/PCA and we remain committed to Brick & Mortar tobacconists as the irreplaceable link between cigar manufacturers and consumers. They tirelessly work, day-in and day-out in the retail side of our beautiful industry, and are on the front lines assisting and educating our wonderful consumers. Arturo Fuente will always support Brick and Mortar tobacconists and do right by them.
“We truly believe that members of the PCA are an extension of our family, and the annual trade show is the single most important event in keeping our families strong and successful. We look forward to spending quality time with everyone at the PCA show in Las Vegas.”
Expect to hear from more premium cigar manufacturers in regards to their position of support for the upcoming PCA trade show. As more premium cigar companies pull out from exhibiting at the trade show, there will certainly be implications on the association's ability to operate and fund its legislative and advocacy efforts.