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  • Ben Balliro

Money is Not Everything

During our last Cigar Tipsters Episode Mark Jr. and I discussed the topic of the PCA Trade Show and how some of the biggest names in cigar industry including CAO, General Cigar, Drew Estate, and Altadis will not be in attendance this year.'“After careful consideration, Altadis U.S.A. has decided not to attend PCA’s 2020 trade show,” Javier Estades, president and CEO of Tabacalera USA, parent company to Altadis, told Cigar Aficionado. “This is the consequence of analyzing the increased costs and lower return of the show and our belief that we can use those resources in other activations which will better help our customers and their adult consumers.”'.


This response to C.A. from these major companies comes in, and not to anyone's surprise, in discouraged fettle. Increased costs and lower return of the show? Other activations which will better help our customers and their adult consumers? I don't know about you, but I do know if you want to unite behind a universal front to fight our common enemy the USFDA, you don't run away or leave your friends behind because of some BS "cost" reason. Drew Estate said, '“This decision, which each of our companies reached unilaterally after careful consideration, reflects our strong belief that structural change in the trade show is in the long term best interests of the entire premium cigar industry and its customers."'


That sounds all well and good that you are trying to be the "morally superior" company with your "long term best interests" at heart. However, they also sold their company to Swisher Sweets, a very much non-premium-tobacco products company. If you are going show your protest against attending the PCA Trade Show because you think it’s not worth your time and effort, then you might be in the wrong industry. Otherwise, and you attend PCA trade show like an adult and you publicly show your support not only for your own company but for your competition who are trying to elbow their way to success in this vast competitive environment. At the end of the day no matter how many premium cigar and pipe tobacco companies are out there, regardless of competition, we are all part of the same fabric.


One of the greatest attributes a large premium tobacco company can have in this difficult time of regulations and increased costs is holding steadfast to their beliefs and showing support your fellow men and women in the cigar industry. Not just with your words, but with your actions. You do not abandon your post because it "costs too much". Really? Drew Estate? Altadis? General Cigar? Multi-billion dollar corporations are concerned with "costs" to attend an annual trade show because it's not profitable? I beg your pardon, but if anyone can and should attend this PCA Trade show and show your support it is most certainly these companies. We as consumers have enough legal and fiscal problems trying to keep this industry afloat, without having to hear how multi billion dollar companies are trying to conserve cash to “help our customers and their adult consumers”.


Publications like this are just some of the reason’s why big corporations get a tarnished reputation. They have more dollars than sense (pun intended) and when it comes to placing the checking account aside and actually show some responsibility beyond the purview of padding a stock price for it’s shareholders, they are nowhere to be found. The premium cigar industry is an industry of patience, resilience, and camaraderie and it is going to take a collective effort from each of us to take back our constitutional freedom to enjoy a cigar without government interference and federal regulations.


This is just my opinion, please write to us if you have a different opinion or want to share your thoughts on this subject. Thank you for reading!

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