High-quality, premium cigars are crucial to growing your cigar store’s sales, reputation, and prestige. The Cigarketing team is here to help you develop winning premium cigar sales and marketing strategies. So, let’s take a quick look at the ins and outs of premium cigars and how they can be the centerpiece to your shop’s long-term success.
The Types of Cigars
A dizzying array of cigar types is available today with many categories and sub-categories. In addition, many of these categories often overlap with one another, causing even more confusion. So, it helps to simplify matters by separating cigars into a few basic types:
Handmade cigars are totally by hand from start to finish. A premium cigar is a handmade cigar composed only of high-quality, aged tobaccos. Most limited-production cigars produced in small “boutique” factories are handmade premium cigars. On the other hand, machine-made cigars, commonly known as mass market or drug store cigars, are cheaper to produce and of lesser quality. Infused or flavored cigars and small cigars such as cigarillos can span multiple categories. So, it is easy for the lines between categories to be blurred. However, there is no blurring of the lines regarding premium cigars.
What is a Premium Cigar?
A recent report issued by the Cigar Association of America revealed that a record 456 million premium cigars were imported to the US in 2021. The report also shows premium cigar volume has increased a rock-solid 5 percent annually over the past decade. Moreover, future projections show no signs of this favorite American pastime letting up. So, let’s look at just what makes a cigar a “premium” cigar.
Tobacco is cultivated worldwide, yet only quality tobacco leaves from the finest tobacco-growing regions are used for premium cigars. The most prestigious regions are the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Ecuador, Indonesia, Cameroon, Brazil, the USA, and Cuba.
The combination of tobacco type, climate, soil makeup, and a wide variety of other factors make each tobacco unique. The relationship between climate, locale, and quality tobacco is much the same as the relationship between “terroir” and the world’s best wines. Once the tobacco is harvested, it is cured in tobacco barns, sorted, and then subjected to fermentation before heading to cigar rolling rooms.
Composition of a Premium Cigar
Top premium cigars feature tobacco recipes created by master blenders who consider every detail, from the desired level of body and taste to the tobacco’s burn rate, cigar size, shape, and other factors. When deciding on a blend, a blender selects tobaccos for each of a premium cigar’s three distinct parts:
- Filler: Tobacco leaves bunched together to create the bulk of the cigar.
- Binder: A leaf that binds the filler together.
- Wrapper: A leaf that surrounds the binder and filler while serving as the cigar’s outer dressing.
Each of these three parts of a premium cigar is assembled completely by hand. In addition, premium cigars use only long-filler tobacco or tobacco leaves that run the full length of a cigar. These contrast with the chopped or shredded “short filler” used for cheaper machine-made cigars. Machine-made cigars often utilize Homogenized Tobacco Leaf, or HTL, a paper-like material composed of bits of tobacco. So, by their very composition, premium cigars are superior to machine-made cigars.
Hand-Rolled Construction Methods
Premium cigar construction begins with assembling the “bunch” or the core filler tobaccos. The filler leaves are bunched or folded together much like the bellows of an accordion and then placed in the binder. This uniform construction provides for a more consistent draw. The best premium cigar factories perform a draw test for each cigar after bunching to ensure quality.
Once the filler and binder are in place, it is time to add the wrapper leaf. Cigar rollers expertly roll the wrapper leaf around the binder and filler, carefully maneuvering, stretching, and shaping the leaf. Once the leaf is applied, a small piece of tobacco leaf is fixed over the head of the cigar using a natural gum adhesive to help keep the wrapper in place.
Rolled cigars are put to rest in aging rooms for an extended period to let the different tobaccos meld into a single harmonious blend. This allows for smoother, more nuanced complexity in body and taste for which premium cigars are so renowned. Once cigars reach the desired maturity level in the aging room, they are inspected, banded, and boxed. Then they are ready to be shipped and find their way to your shop, where we can put the full force of our cigar marketing tools to work for you.
How to Showcase Premium Cigars
Enjoying a premium cigar is not just a hobby but a lifestyle. So, you want customers to appreciate the luxurious artistry and craftsmanship while also seeing value in a premium cigar’s exceptional smoking experience. Therefore, high-quality cigars should have prime display space. Also, engaging customers throughout their cigar search and the point of sale offers more opportunities to add allure and a personal touch to the premium cigar experience.
Marketing premium cigars through outdoor advertising, high-visibility online tactics and a strong social media presence also helps build on the prestige premium cigars offer and draw customers to your webpage or shop. Our cigar marketing experts can work with you to develop the best strategies for showcasing premium cigars and keep them flying off your shelves.
Hosting Cigar Events
Hosting cigar events is another great way to showcase high-quality cigars, draw customers into your shop, and boost sales. Events can range from simple in-store tastings to more elaborate gatherings at local smoker-friendly venues. In addition, cigar events provide another chance to add to the romance and allure of premium cigars.
Putting together successful cigar tasting events takes time and planning, and many cigar manufacturers are happy to help, whether it be the product, promotions, or company reps in attendance. The Cigarketing team is ready to help you put together winning cigar events that create more opportunities for marketing premium cigars.
Enjoy the Profit and Prestige of Premium Cigars
Premium cigars set the standard for what good cigars should be, and, as recent reports show, their popularity continues to rise. So, don’t miss the chance to strengthen your shop’s reputation and prestige by showcasing premium cigars. Contact Cigarketing today, and together we’ll create marketing strategies to take your premium cigar sales to the next level.