Cuba’s Tobacco Industry Reinvents Itself All the Time


Vicepresidentes de Habanos s.a en Conferencia de Prensa

The tradeshow attached to the event has provided the largest turnout ever in terms of leased exhibition space, a grand total of 800 square meters with 67 booths and several countries, including Italy, Canada, Germany, Spain, Panama and Brazil.

Brands that stand for the highest traditions of the tobacco industry –Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta- will lead the launches during a weeklong event teeming with presentations of the Montecristo 80 Aniversario commemorative vitola, and Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Cosecha 2009. Those attending the festival will also revel in the magnificent taste of aged hand-rolled cigars –a process of somewhere between five and eight years endured by habanos before they hit the market- such as Montecristo Churchill Añejados and Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados.

This time around, the traditional alliance will feature two exclusive products born out of their lands, with features of their own that make them one-and-only items under the sun: habanos (DOP)* and Italian-made Chianti wines (DOCG)*.

Habanos S.A. Development vice president Javier Terres highlighted the company’s positive outcomes by the end of 2014, with a market share way above 70 percent. That trend will remain on the rise this year –amid the economic crisis that’s pounding key regions and antismoking campaigns. In early February, sales have outnumbered figures tabbed in the same period of time last year.

Europe keeps growing strong as Habanos S.A.’s top market, with Spain leading the pack, while the Asia Pacific region boasts the greatest potentials for the development of new strategies in both the short and the mid runs. The impact of the U.S. market opening as far as production and sales are concerned certainly piqued curiosity in the national and foreign press.

Habanos S.A. Marketing vice president Jorge Luis Fernandez Maique had this to say: “Any productive development will hinge on quality rather than quantity” as he underscored the ineludible positive impact the marketing of Cuban tobacco, bestowed with all legal warranties, will have in the U.S. Even though all prognoses right now just lie in a hypothetical realm, the eventual entry into the American market will make the market share soar somewhere between 25 and 30 percent, with units hovering around 70 to 90 million.

This year’s edition will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Casa del Habano, a network of boutiques specialized in habano sales that stand out for their vast knowledge and customized assistance with currently 140 stores scattered in 65 countries.

The rest of the 17th Habano Festival program has lots of interesting things in stores, such as habano-related lectures, master lessons, the 14th edition of the International Habanosommelier Contest and the second contest to get the longest burning ash. The traditional visits to the finest tobacco plantations in Vuelta Abajo*, in Pinar del Río*, as well as to the historic La Corona and H. Upmann habano factories, are scheduled for this Tuesday and Thursday.


*(D.O.P.) Protected Denomination of Origin