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The Cigar Boom

A Business that Caught Fire in Late 1992 Continues To Burn Ever Hotter
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Demi Moore, Autumn 96

(continued from page 1)

The tremendous demand and the inability to meet it are forcing some cigar makers and distributors to limit their customers. "We haven't opened a new account in over a year and a half," said Carlos Fuente Jr., referring to cigar shops that carry his Arturo Fuente brand cigars.

When a shipment of hard-to-find Arturo Fuente or El Credito's La Gloria Cubana cigars hits the shelves, it quickly attracts excited customers. Many cigar shops impose limits of one or two cigars per customer on scarce brands, and some even keep prized smokes such as a Partagas Limited Reserve under the counter and offer them only to special customers.

The cigar boom, rather than leveling off as was widely expected, shows no signs of slowing. "We keep expecting to level off," says Austin T. McNamara, president of General Cigar Co., maker of Macanudo and Partagas. "We're not looking for non-growth, but non-accelerating growth." McNamara's complaint is common among cigar manufacturers because of their inability over the last few years to predict the pace of the growth.

Today, cigars are everywhere. They can be seen in the hands of celebrities. They're for sale in supermarkets, liquor stores and even gas stations. Cigar dinners occur virtually every night, and young men and women have become educated and passionate smokers. The number of cigar friendly restaurants (a term unknown before the launch of this magazine), cigar bars and cigar shops are increasing rapidly. Whereas cigar smokers were once challenged to find a place where they could smoke in peace, today in most big cities it's a matter of which place to choose.

In the next few years, industry insiders believe supply and demand will balance out, and everyone's favorite cigars will be back on the shelves--and back in your humidors.

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