January 2019

Scandinavian Tobacco Group is taking over the distribution of the Meier & Dutch* brands in The Netherlands from distributor Longfiller Company effective immediately, much to the dislike of Sasja van Horssen, owner of Longfiller Company.

Late 2013 Van Horssen contacted both Meier & Dutch if there was a way to import some cigars from the M&D portfolio into The Netherlands. Meier & Dutch said that their parent company STG didn’t have any plans for Europe, but that they would love to see the cigars make it to the Dutch market. Van Horssen double checked with STG, and they gave Longfiller Company their blessing. The first shipment of Diesel Unholy Cocktail, Man ‘O War and Reposado landed mid-2014 and from day one the cigars were a big success. Later several other Diesel cigars, Sons of Anarchy plus the Ave Maria brand were added.

Due to the success in The Netherlands, STG decided to distribute the cigars in several other European markets but confirmed that Longfiller Company was grandfathered in. Late 2018 however, they announced that they would take over distribution from January, despite promises otherwise.

Van Horssen was not pleased, to say the least. We reached out to him and Van Horssen explained. “In the past, we introduced several brands to the Dutch market, brands like Cuesta Rey, La Aurora, Leon Jimenes, and Macanudo. Three of those brands are now non-existent on the Dutch market, only Macanudo has some shelf space in certain shops”. Van Horssen continues “because of my experiences in the past, I knew that this was a possible outcome, we build a brand and then STG comes in. We hoped, because of our direct line with Meier & Dutch, it could be avoided this time. But STG just stared with a brand new handmade division on the Dutch market and they think that this is the right way to have an instant turnover. What they don’t know is that the bulk of the turnover comes from my three shops ** and of course, I won’t be buying from STG. I still have enough stock to last me a long time.”

Van Horssen also said that he’s working with Abe Flores from PDR. Together they are creating a bundle cigar that, from a price point, will rival with the Reposado bundles, yet with better quality tobacco. As soon as there is more news about these bundles, we will be the first to publish about them.

We contacted STG for a reaction, they will respond after they informed the Dutch retailers. Story to be updated.

* Meier & Dutch is a cigar wholesaler, owned by Cigars International, which is owned by STG just like General Cigars. Meier & Dutch has private labels, made by A.J. Fernandez and other manufacturers outside the STG family. Those brands include Diesel, Man O’ War, Ave Maria, Reposado amongst others, and a few exclusive cigars from the likes of Padilla, Drew Estate, Rocky Patel, 5 Vegas, and Graycliff.

** Van Horssen owns three shops. Van Dalen Cigars in Den Bosch, Van Dalen Cigars in Rotterdam and his flagship store Cigaragua in Amsterdam.

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