Tobacconist University
Get Certified    |    Campus Store    |    R&D Lab    |    FAQs

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Dark Age of Cigar Making & The FDApocalypse

As the FDA forces our industry from the 'Golden Age of Cigar Making' to the 'Dark Age of Cigar Making', there are many changes taking place.  Not the least of which is the government allowing Cuban cigars to circumvent the new rules by being imported by tourists for unlimited personal use.  Currently, the largest manufacturing/distribution companies are gobbling up small manufacturers and importers.  Furthermore, it is clear that the 'big boys' in our industry are becoming more vertically integrated and establishing retail operations or buying existing stores to cement their market domination - all of this in addition to their ever growing mail order operations.  Even worse, is the unseen fact that executives throughout our industry are polishing their resumes while trying to figure out where they will go next.  All the while, retail tobacconists who have invested their lives and capital into their businesses are just trying to survive... as usual.       

While massive landscape changes are occurring in the cigar industry, consumers will see very little change in the short term, thanks to good marketing, spin & pivot public relations, jive talk, jibber jabber, deflection, and the fact that most of the changes we will see will happen incrementally.  They have taken our rights, little by little.  They have compounded and beat us with taxes, little by little.  They have passed smoking bans and new regulations, little by little.  And that's how it happens... little by little.  

Sadly, five years from now, we fear there will be less retail tobacconist stores than today.  Not because the public wants less, but because the business environment is too scary to operate in.  Small business owners cannot fight and compete with local, state, and federal governments while trying to service their customers - that is a game created by and best left to the 'big boys'.  But, despite the challenges, many retail tobacconists will survive and some will thrive.  And Tobacconist University (TU) will continue to serve our Vision:

To build and project the credibility of the luxury tobacco industry in order to gain cultural acceptance around the world - preserving luxury tobacco for generations to come.

We are not packing up and calling it a day... nor are we changing our strategy, goals, or tactics.  We will not compromise.  We are doubling down.  Over the next year, TU will deploy more new and unique programs and enhancements than ever before.  We will continue to grow and support tobacconists... so stay tuned!  

If you want to make a difference, get politically involved... join Cigar Rights of America, and support the IPCPR... and GET CERTIFIED!!!


Jorge L. Armenteros, CMT
President & Founder
Tobacconist University