Today, leading premium cigar manufacturers Altadis USA, Davidoff of Geneva USA, Drew Estate, and General Cigar / STG, are announcing that they will not attend the 2020 PCA trade show. This decision, which each of our companies reached unilaterally after careful consideration, reflects our strong belief that structural change in the trade show is in the long-term best interests of the entire premium cigar industry and its customers.
Over recent years, an increasing number of retailers and manufacturers have come to recognize an unfortunate set of facts:
- Our most important industry gathering – the PCA trade show – has been in decline.
- Attempts to discuss ways to reverse the downward trends in relevance, attendance, membership, and category growth have been met with silence.
- The cost of the event – which continues to rise – has consumed funds that could otherwise be used to defend our industry from regulatory and legislative attacks, which threaten the livelihood of each and every one of us.
After six months of repeated outreach to PCA, various efforts to discuss ways to enhance the structure, organization, and value of the show – for the benefit of retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers – were unsuccessful. Absent significant improvements, the trade show will continue its downwards spiral. As “customers” of the trade show, it has become increasingly evident to each of us that we simply cannot continue to support and underwrite an event that is not satisfactorily responding to, or meeting, the needs of our industry.
Looking ahead to 2020, each of us is individually committed to using resources previously devoted to the show and repurpose these funds towards achieving two important goals for our industry. One, to enhance the best-in-class trade programs and product offerings that continue to fuel the success of our retail partners. Two, to continue being at the forefront in the fight to protect the interests of the entire premium cigar industry against the imposition of unreasonable burdens that restrict our industry’s ability to market and sell our products to adult consumers.
We recognize that some may mischaracterize our decision, distort the truth, or misrepresent facts. Let each of us be clear. Our commitment to our industry and to our retail partners has never been stronger. Our sole motivation is to seek pathways that are more valuable for the entire premium cigar industry.
Lastly, we each remain committed to engaging in transparent and honest dialogue with any and all industry partners about how best to reinvigorate our trade show, as well as to preserve and protect the interests of the entire premium cigar industry. The betterment, advancement, and ongoing success of our industry has been – and remains – our only motivation and goal.
The Drew Estate story is one of daring, heartbreak & success but, most of all, one of passion for cigars and the country of Nicaragua, where we have been making cigars since 1998.