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June/July,
2001

TOBACCO INDUSTRY NEWS

S.T. Cigar Group Launches Canadian Affiliate
Longueuil, Quebec - S.T. Cigar Group Holding B.V., the primary cigar division of Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni, Denmark, has launched a new Canadian affiliate, Old Port Cigar Company. The new company will market Old Port, Colts, and Colts Mild cigars in Canada - trademarks acquired by S.T. Cigar Group Holding B.V. in November from Imperial Tobacco Company.

The Canadian operation will employ a staff of about 30 people, working under the leadership of Maurice Bedard, the general manager of the new company.

Hans Hoppenbrouwers, managing director of ST Cigar Group Holding B.V., said the Old Port line of cigars is an ideal complement to the products that his company offers worldwide. "They are the most widely sold cigars in Canada in their price category, and that is indicative of their outstanding quality," he remarked. "We expect to use the success of these trademarks in Canada as a springboard to eventually go into new markets, either in North America or elsewhere in the world."

Also attending the official opening of the head office of Old Port Cigar Co. on May 1, was Jorgen Einar Tandrup, president and c.e.o. of Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni.

Establishing the Old Port Cigar Company now is a timely decision, notes Bedard. "After neglecting cigars for several years, Canadian consumers have re-discovered the exquisite pleasure and the unequaled sense of relaxation that comes from a fine cigar," he said.

Cigar sales in Canada have been on the upswing since 1995, having increased by more than 13% between 1995-1999, reaching total sales of about 228 million units per year.

"Our company's mission is essentially to continue to provide Canadian consumers with the high-quality products to which they have become accustomed, and to offer these products to a growing number of satisfied customers," added Bedard.


Arango Sportsman Production Moves to Dominican
Northbrook, Ill. - Arango Cigar Co. has moved production of its Arango Sportsman line of vanilla-flavored aromatic cigars to the Dominican Republic. General Cigar Co. is now producing the line in its Santiago factory, where it also manufactures Macanudo and Partagas premium cigars. Formerly, the Villazon factory in Tampa, Florida, produced the Arango Sportsman line.

"General Cigar's standards are excellent," said Mike Gold, Arango's president. "The factory provides us the capacity for future sales growth and the ability to maintain our competitive price structure."

The Arango Sportsman is the most popular vanilla cigar in the market, according to Gold. "The cigar is so popular because we use high quality imported tobaccos and just enough vanilla to give a subtle, pleasant aroma," he says.

The line includes five sizes from 5 3/4 x 34 to 7 1/2 x 48, in natural or maduro, as well as little cigars. Suggested retail prices for Arango Sportsman range from $.85 to $1.75 at keystone. The 6 1/2 x 42 size is also available in tubes and "It's a Boy!" or "It's a Girl!" all are in full production and in stock at Arango Cigar Co.


Club Macanudo Cigar Lounge on Wheels Launches National Tour

New York - General Cigar Company has introduced "Club Macanudo on Tour," a 45-foot luxury bus converted into a rolling cigar lounge that made its debut in New York on May 24. The tour is designed to promote the company's line of Macanudo premium hand-made cigars.

"Club Macanudo on Tour" emulates the ambience of Club Macanudo, the posh cigar lounge and restaurant in New York's Upper East Side. During this Summer and Fall, the lounge will travel to selected cities and offer cigar lovers top quality cigars in a unique setting.

After its New York City premier, "Club Macanudo on Tour" traveled throughout the New York metropolitan area, then headed north to Boston. From Boston the tour will travel to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Ashville, N.C., Atlanta, Miami, and Tampa for the R.T.D.A. annual convention in the middle of August. The remainder of 2001 will be devoted to stopping in cities throughout the rest of the U.S.

"Macanudo on Tour" will be inviting smokers to visit their local cigar stores when the bus comes to town. The stores will be offering free tickets to visit the bus, and in locations where space permits "Club Macanudo on Tour" will roll out the red carpet, literally, with an extended lounging and entertainment area for public and private events.

"Club Macanudo on Tour is designed to deliver the comfort and enjoyment of the optimum cigar experience to our loyal Macanudo fans across the country," explains Cooper Gardiner, marketing director for Macanudo cigars. "At the same time, we'll be inviting smokers who may not know about the quality and luxury of a Macanudo to come over to our place and try one." Cigar smokers who visit the bus and enjoy a relaxing moment or two may be eligible to win an even more relaxing Las Vegas vacation in a sweepstakes offered only along the path of "Club Macanudo on Tour." The grand prize winner will enjoy the Cigar Aficionado's Las Vegas Big Smoke Weekend in November. Cigars, custom-made humidors, and other prizes round out the sweepstakes offering.


U.S. Cigar Sales to Distribute Estavan Cruz

Tampa - Estavan Cruz Tobacco Co. has signed an agreement with U.S. Cigar Sales, a unit of UST, Inc., to sell and distribute its line of premium cigars.

U.S. Cigar sales, under the direction of general manager Bent Ahm, has been manufacturing Estavan Cruz cigars for nearly two years at its Dominican Republic facility, Farbrica de Tabacos in Santiago Real. The deal moves Estavan Cruz into the ranks of national brand status.

"With the backing of [U.S. Cigar's] national sales organization, our highly rated product will be available to a wider audience," said Steve Sacks, president of Estavan Cruz Tobacco Co.

Estavan Cruz cigars have earned prestigious ratings from tasting panels at the top cigar publications, garnering some of the highest marks in recent issues. Special honors have been earned by the company's newest cigar, the Short Cruz, a 4 x 50 box pressed belicoso-shaped maduro.

"This product line adds a new dimension to our portfolio of brands," said Larry Palombo, president of U.S. Cigar Sales, Inc. The company makes and distributes Don Tomas, Astral, and Habana Primero 365.

U.S. Cigar Sales, 6904 Parke East Blvd, Tampa, FL 33610, Tel: (813) (626) 6663.



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