It’s the question I get asked more than any other during the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show: what hotel are you staying at?
Well that might have been this year, but normally the question is: what have you seen? The literal answer is “a lot,” but what people are really asking is “what have you seen that has caught your eye?” Given that we get asked this question probably a dozen times per day during the show and countless times after the show, we’ve started doing these top three thing posts.
A couple disclaimers:
A. I don’t smoke very many cigars during the show. I’ve averaged about two cigars over four days on the show floor and about one cigar per day at night for the last few years. That didn’t change this year meaning I probably lit up about 15 cigars during my entire stay in Vegas, of which I probably only finished about half. So there’s no cigars on this list, because I’ve only smoked four new cigars from the show, none of which have been that revolutionary.
B. This is only what I saw. As will be explained later on, I probably only stopped in about 70 of the 134 booths we collectively covered. Amongst the 70, a dozen or so were literally for less than a minute.
For the second year in a row, the most impressive thing I saw at the trade show was an S.T.Dupont lighter that has both soft and torch flames. There are some big differences. For starters, this one is $1,500 and not $41,000; and secondly, the flame mechanism is completely different.
The idea of combination lighters, combining soft flame and torch flames into a single device is not new. I was told Dupont was working on this product earlier in the year and it immediately brought up memories of a lighter by the name of Ever Torch that I bought eight years ago. That lighter, which looks like a knock-off S.T.Dupont, was also a dual torch lighter. But the Le Grand Dupont is totally different.
Whereas lighters like the Ever Torch and Complication lighter rely on two separate flame mechanisms where a soft flame is lit and the user presses a button to activate a torch; this is one singular element on the Le Grand Dupont. You still need to first activate the soft flame portion, but the two mechanisms are stacked into one single tower within the lighter. It’s an elegant and brilliant solution.
I am a bit conflicted about pouring money into trade show booths, but if you are going to do it, go big or go home.
Perdomo’s new video boards are impossible to accurately depict with pictures, video and text; you just had to be there. The boards at the front of the booth were impressive enough, but the circular overhanging screen, that looked like it was taken straight from an NBA arena. It was the definition of go big.
I’m not sure Perdomo opened anymore new accounts because of the video screens, particularly given its booth was in pretty good position to begin with. I also doubt the video board directly resulted in a substantial amount of increased sales. However, it was really impressive.
Ultimately, end consumers pay for the spending at the trade show. I’ve applauded some manufacturers, notably General Cigar Co., as they’ve cut back on their spending on trade show booths, but it’s nice to see some companies still investing and innovating. It’s even more remarkable considering Perdomo just redid its booth last year, something that was impressive enough without the stadium-style video board.
In a similar sense to the aforementioned S.T.Dupont, Colibri has combined two styles of cutting—straight and v-cut—into one device. It’s not a small cutter, but just like the extremely popular Colibri V-Cut, I imagine people will overlook that fact because of how substantial the device feels.
While this article isn’t about what we think will sell well, I imagine this will do extremely well. Priced at $75, it’s affordable enough and has all the right things going for it.
Many retailers will likely make this their default behind-the-counter cutter as it combines two devices, both of which can cut up to 60 and 70 ring gauge cigars depending on the size, in thickness. And I think once consumers see it and play with it, it becomes an easy sell. The gratification of hitting the button and feeling the top of the cutter spring upwards is only overshadowed by the feel of it locking back into place once the heavy cutter is locked back down.