Date: April 2020
Author: Inspector Z

More companies join the BOTL vs corona initiative. Last week, we published about this initiative from the Dutch cigar distributor and importer Longfiller Company. Together with some of the brands that Longfiller Company represents in The Netherlands, the Brother of the Leaf vs Corona was founded. With this initiative, both the distributor and the producers drop part of their margins, which leaves a bigger margin for the retailers.

Last week we spoke with Sasja van Horssen, the owner of Longfiller Company, and he explained. “I approached five of my partners with a ‘take it or leave it’ offer. I would place a big order, but in exchange for that order, I want an x percentage of discount. For this order, I will lower my distributor margin. Those discounts will result in a much lower buying price for the retailer. With the fixed price system, that leads to a much bigger margin for the tobacconist. An extra margin of approximately 35%. I will open the books for the orders, so the manufacturers are certain that the retailers are the only ones profiting from this initiative”. Van Horssen also said that he is planning to do this for three months minimum, but will prolong the support if the situation demands it.

New members

Last week, three news brands joined the initiative. That makes the total number of producers involved ten. And Van Horssen said he’s talking to more brands to join the initiative. The new members are not the least. No other than My Father Cigars, two times winner of Cigar Aficionado’s top 25, joined the initiative. My Father Cigars won the #1 position in 2015 with the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box Pressed. And in 2012 with the Flor de Las Antillas Toro. Those two highly rated cigars are included in the cigar that will come to the Dutch retailers with an added discount to help them survive the economic backlash from the pandemic. 

In a text message to us, Janny Garcia said “We are definitely living very difficult times. We want to be part of this program because it is important in these times of need to support those that support us every day. This industry is a big family and now more than ever we should be united, helping each other. It is important that you guys know we are here and we are going to get out of this stronger than ever, as an industry and as a human being too. Please stay home as much as you can, stay safe. We will see each other soon.”

Tatuaje and A.J. Fernandez

The other new members are Tatuaje and A.J. Fernandez. Tatuaje and My Father Cigars are independent companies but very much intertwined. Tatuaje owner Pete Johnson is married to Janny Garcia, and all Tatuaje cigars are made at the factories of the Garcia family. Both companies share distribution channels and share booths at the biggest trade shows in the industry. So it’s no surprise that both companies decided to join the initiative together. The third new member is A.J. Fernandez. This Nicaraguan powerhouse has been distributed by Longfiller Company for several years and didn’t hesitate when he was approached by van Horssen.

The initiative is now supported by Rocky Patel, Joya De Nicaragua, Plasencia Cigars, La Sagrada Familia, PDR, Condega Cigars, Oliva Cigars, My Father Cigars, A.J. Fernandez, and Tatuaje.

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