Every year, the Premium Cigar Association hosts a tradeshow to help raise funds for all of the efforts on both the state and federal levels that they embark on the rest of the year to help protect the premium cigar industry. It is also a major piece of conversation as it is perhaps the largest event of the year in the industry. While the show has taken some serious criticism in years past, the current leadership has made some great strides in getting the show on a better level.
Most recently, the PCA announced this will be the final year the show is held at the Venetian (formerly the Sands) Expo Center at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. For 2024, the show will be hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For 2025 and beyond, nothing has been confirmed by the PCA however rumors are the show could be in New Orleans, Nashville, Ft. Worth or a combination of these. Multiple PCA board members have told Smokin Tabacco there have been multiple scheduled announcements that were later pulled. I expect an announcement at the trade show this week that we will be heading to New Orleans in 2025.
Smokin Tabacco’s Most Anticipated Booths:
In preparation of the 2023 show, the team at Smokin Tabacco also discusses what might be seen, heard or happen at the show that is worthy of mentioning. For starters, the team was polled, and this is a combined average of what each of us thought were our top five most anticipated or otherwise most exciting booths to visit at the show for a variety of reasons that include products being shown or other company developments.
Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
For the most part, everyone’s list was the same with minor differences. Everyone agreed United/Selected Tobacco, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, Tatuaje and Epic were all booths bringing some stuff (and people) that will be interesting to see. With the first three, many releases across multiple lines that were also brands we felt performed extremely well at the 2022 show.
Tatuaje brings its Anarchy NFT project being done with Smoke Inn, as well as a few other regular releases to the show. Steve Saka has announced he will be bringing regular production Red Meat Lovers Club and Polpetta lines to the show which were formerly event exclusives before. The Mi Querida Black was first shown in the Sakakhan format at the show last year and this year Steve will be bringing that plus a new size, the PapaSaka to PCA. In addition, DTT will have Unicorns for Sobremesa Blue and SakaKhan.
United Cigar, and their ultra-premium brand the distribute, Selected Tobacco, are both bringing some great releases as well. Selected will be showcasing a new Alfonso cigar with a darker wrapper, a ten-year aged Atabey Dioses, the Atabey Humidor we first saw in 2022, and their NFT cigar, the Atabey Black Ritos. United will be bringing new sizes of the Red Anchor, a Black Bomb Firecracker update and round versions of the United core line.
Epic Cigars are the fourth here because many of us are intrigued to see if A Bronx Tale by Chazz Palminteri this is going to be another celebrity cigar that burns out like a short match or if Chazz gets behind this brand and really pushes it the way Guy Fieri has done with Espinosa on Knuckle Sandwich. He will also be in the booth the first two days of the show, as will Guy Fieri at Espinosa.
The last one on the list is Perdomo. It is suspected that Perdomo will be showing its 30th Anniversary line that was delayed due to packing issues at last year’s PCA. Like Steve Saka, Nick Perdomo is another cigar maker who gets behind product and makes results. The last cigars Perdomo released, the 10th Anniversary Sun Grown and Maduro were met with extreme critical acclaim. Nick also told us at PCA 2022 the 30th were rolled and resting while packaging issues were sorted out and would release them once things were on track.
Other names that were mentioned individually that did not make the averaged list are Forged, Aganorsa Leaf, and Foundation. Nick Melillo is bringing two new brands to PCA as well as some extensions on Charter Oak. Forged is making its first appearance since the Room 101 and Alec Bradley acquisitions and will be interesting to see how those brands continue to evolve. Aganorsa is bringing some new things as well, last year they were more focused on rebranding and packaging for the most part. Among the cigars Aganorsa has mentioned are a 10 x 100 Lunatic that is sure to draw attention.
Short Turn Around
Outside of the manufacturers and things to see showcased, the traffic of the show will be interesting to see. The last few years have been growing pains for the PCA show but in the right direction. Scott Pearce, Executive Director of the PCA told us that there are already more registrations for this show versus last year. However, with the 2024 show being moved to March of next year, it will be interesting to see if retailers buy heavy now, or if they plan to wait for the quieter season next year.
Another interesting facet to the show this year is the Boutique Cigar Pavillion being hosted by what is now an annex of the PCA, the BCA or Boutique Cigar Association. This will provide a chance for some smaller brands to get some recognition on the big stage. I predict it being a less travelled area on the show floor but also an area that by the next year or two sees more of a steady flow.
Fuente Padron Collaboration
Many people have been talking about one of the highlights from the 2022 PCA show, the announcement of the Fuente y Padron collaboration. Since then, Cigar Aficionado hosted a test blend tasting at their Big Smoke Meets Whiskey Fest Event in the spring. Other than that, not much info has been made available. If I was a betting man, (and I am) I would say do not expect to see or hear major details about this project at PCA 2023. But with Fuente – you never know. They love the element of subtle surprise.
Matt Tabacco – President of Smokin Tabacco
Born and raised in New England, Matthew Tabacco began smoking cigars and living up to his unique namesake in 2017. What began as just a social indulgence became a world of everything premium cigars- learning from some of the biggest and best in the business. From casual smoking to lighting up on the hit podcast The Smokin Tabacco Show, Matthew can usually be found in some of the largest smoke shops in the Northeast enjoying a cigar, talking business, or preparing for a show.