Date: June 2019
Author: Inspector Z

Always support the little guys. And no, we don’t mean just the boutique blends. What we mean are the privately owned cigar brands and retailers. And that goes all the way from that tiny tobacconist at the end of the street to big, yet privately owned, brands like Rocky Patel. Support them for the service they offer, and for keeping the industry alive.

We get it, not everybody lives close to a tobacconist. Or has the time or opportunity to visit a retail outlet regularly. So ordering cigars online is sometimes a necessity. Other times it is just convenient. But there’s nothing wrong with ordering online, it is just a matter of where. Plenty of independent retailers offer a great selection of cigars online.

One of the comments we hear a lot is “but cigars are so much cheaper in the big web shops in the United States”. But those comparisons aren’t fair. Those are prices without taxes. And don’t forget, importing tobacco without a license is prohibited in many countries. So if you do, you’re both breaking the law and evading tax. Most countries allow an x number of cigars to be brought in duty-free, but that does not count for mail packages.

Support the independent retailer

Why is this so important to us? Well, without those retailers, who is there to educate you? To guide you through the world of the cigar? To service your accessories when there are issues? To host events where you meet other cigar aficionados in your area? Where you form friendships? The personal service in these shops and their owner’s supply is immense. You won’t get that service at the big, corporate or foreign webshops. A real tobacco shop offers up close and personal service and more. And builds relationships. And some of them offer lounges, where you can enjoy your cigars. That’s impossible for the big online retailers.

Ministry of Cigars - always support the little guys
botl enjoying the cigar lounge of Sigarenmagazijn Eygelshoven

The independent retailers are also the ones that rejuvenate the industry. They are the ones that are willing to try new cigars. Making room for the boutique brands. And those are the brands that innovate. Without those retailers, who keep the cigar scene alive, the landscape would be very different. And not as vibrant as it is. Highly recommended and praised brands, such as RoMa Craft, heavily rely on those independent retailers. And the retailers rely on those small, independent, brands to set them apart from the competition. The two can’t do it without each other. And without the support of the cigar aficionados.

The large webshops owned by the big tobacco companies have so much buying power that they van squeeze manufacturers. They buy so much that they can negotiate prices that are close to theft. We know, those big companies with their huge online shops can offer cigars at rock bottom prices. So they make it hard to resist. But in the end, it’s a short term saving. In the long run, you’re hurting the cigar culture by ordering from them. Don’t get it wrong, we are not suggesting a boycott. We’re just asking to support the independent retailers as well. 

Support the independent brands

When you look at the fight against the legislation, who are fighting? Independent brands. In the United States, J.C. Newman, Fuente, Padron, Ashton, and Rocky Patel are at the forefront of the fight. In The Netherlands, it’s Cubacigar Benelux, who asked players such as Scandinavian Tobacco Group to join. They declined. Big tobacco is in support of the legislation, as it will kill the competition. And those companies aren’t as passionate about tobacco as the independent guys. Altria, the largest American cigarette company, known for Marlboro is also the owner of the Nat Sherman cigar brand. And they actively urge the FDA not to exempt premium cigars from the pending legislation. By supporting companies like that with your hard earned cash, you’re supporting the death of a lot of brands.

Those multi-billion companies can easily pay the user fees and the costs that the legislation will bring. While for the smaller boutique brands, those costs will be too much to bear. The legislation is the easiest way to kill competition for big players such as Altria, General Cigars and Altadis.

Support the ones that deserve it

So in conclusion: if you care about the cigar culture always support the little guys. If you care about quality, always support the little guys. If you care about innovation, always support the little guys. As Steve Saka said on Facebook, those companies are the ones producing the best cigars.

4 thoughts on “Always support the little guys

  1. This is very true.

  2. Congrats for your words: true and necessary!

    Our movement fits to your article – somehow, at least:

    1. We’ve written about the Cigar Rights movements before

  3. My friend,

    As a former owner of a number of stores, I recognize a lot in your argument.
    You have written a wonderful valuable article again.
    My compliments!

    And what I like about a cigar shop is the atmosphere.
    It’s always a party for me when I’m in the cigar shop.
    The many cigars that I see there and the wonderful smells that you smell in the humidor give me a happy feeling.
    And that is the beginning of the cigar pleasure.

    Best regards,
    Coenraad JH

Leave a Reply

Latest from Specials ...

The all-new Fuente The OpusX Society single-vitola cigar made its worldwide début at the Premium...

March 2024

Recently, I visited Havana's Laguito 1492, where I toured and ended in a smoke lounge...

March 2024

Casdagli Cigars unfolds a tale from 1800s trade to premium tobacco, showcasing a legacy of...

March 2024

I recently visited Cuba and on the second day, explored Vuelta Abajo in Pinar Del...

February 2024

Boisdale of Canary Wharf hosted the Bolívar Regentes 2021 launch on Feb 7th, 2024. Joined...

February 2024