On Sunday I fly out to Las Vegas with the editorial team from Cigar Aficionado to attend the annual IPCPR trade show. It's trade show No. 22 for me, which is hard to believe, and I'm looking forward to it as always. I haven't missed one yet.
The mood is certain to be different at this show, with the recent ruling from the FDA on everyone's minds. There's a rush unlike anything I've ever seen to get new product out the door.
There is an advantage for a company to get its product on the market by August 8. In a nutshell, it will make it easier and less expensive to sell that product in the future, not as seamless as the ones that were on sale in February 2007 that are being grandfathered, but easier than what's to come in the future. Every moment it seems like I get a new email or phone call about something new coming out for the show. Some companies are introducing dozens of new brands and sizes—you can read about them in our IPCPR module that recently went live, and will be continually updated while all of us are at the show.
Where will all this new product go? Brick-and-mortar humidors are crowded already. It's hard to believe that all of these new cigars will find a home. And I know many of these products have been long in the making, but it's hard to believe that many haven't been rushed out the door. Rushing cigars is rarely a good thing.
I trust the cigarmakers who have been doing this for years. They know that tobacco needs time, that moving quickly doesn't always work with cigars. I hope in the frenzy to make this FDA deadline people don't forget their way.
The past several years have been golden ones for cigar smokers, with quality cigars abundant and easy to find. I hope these high levels of quality will be maintained for a long time—and I hope that the changes coming from the U.S. government don't harm this industry that I love so much.