If you were at the 2013 IPCPR trade show and convention and looking for the Tiant Cigar Group booth—listed as 1854 and 1954—and could not find it; your eyes work fine, it wasn’t there. If you would like to call the office to get ahold of them that way, don’t bother, the phone number is not in service. And if you are trying to get ahold of one of its reps, that might be difficult too, the majority of the reps listed on the company’s website aren’t working for the company. That might have to do with the fact for the past few months the company has not been selling cigars.
While the company is not out of business, it has effectively not been doing business for some time now.
Daniel Tiant, ceo and founder of Tiant Cigar Group, confirmed to halfwheel that the company is still in existence, though described it as being in a transition period.
He said his priority at the moment is separating from his business partner, Michael Bellody.
Bellody, who is still Tiant Cigar Group’s co-owner and president, recently announced the launch of a new company, MLB Cigar Ventures, that is working on developing a new line as well as possibly investing in other cigar lines. When asked about the future of Tiant Cigar Group, Bellody declined to go into specifics but said that things were “in limbo.”
Tiant Cigar Group, LLC is best known for the El Tiante cigar line, named for Luis Tiant, the former Major League pitcher who is well known for his love of cigars. The elder Tiant began the process of creating his own line in 2002, and after running into a number of production problems, finally launched El Tiante in 2009 with production handled by Tabaclaera Tambor in Nicaragua. They debuted with two lines, the 23 Series Habano and 23 Series Corojo, which both reference the number that Tiant wore as a member of the Boston Red Sox, as well as his age when he debuted in the Major Leagues and his birthday, November 23, 1940.
In October 2011 the company moved production to My Father Cigars in Nicaragua. They also relaunched the company, calling it Tiant Cigar Group, LLC. The younger Tiant told Cigar Aficionado, “Dad’s still involved… he was there when we came up with the blends, and if he didn’t like it, then we didn’t put it out.” Tiant also said that the company was focusing on developing a more serious image, one that didn’t necessarily revolve around baseball.
Most of the company’s representatives contacted for the story say it’s been close to a year since they have worked for Tiant, despite the fact their names are still listed on the website. Retailers we spoke to say they haven’t been able to place orders for months. Tiant told halfwheel that if need be, he can fulfill some of these requests by moving product from one retailer to another, although it’s unclear if that’s happening.
Tiant told halfwheel that he will be back fairly soon, though declined to explain what that might mean or when that might happen.