Nat Sherman International, the company behind Nat Sherman cigars, pipe tobacco and the brand’s New York Townhouse, is for sale.

Altria—which bought the company in early 2017—has announced that is exploring a potential sale of Nat Sherman International, the entity that controls the non-cigarette Nat Sherman brands.

“Nat Sherman International is a terrific business,” said Jessica Pierucki, managing director for Nat Sherman, in a press release. “While we recognize the strength and value of the premium cigar business, it’s not core to Altria’s tobacco portfolio so we are exploring options for NSI.”

Altria’s core business is cigarettes.

The company controls the U.S. business for Marlboro, as well as Black & Mild machine-made cigars and Copenhagen and Skoal, two smokeless tobacco brands. It also owns a minority stake in Juul. Altogether, it generated over $25 billion in revenue in 2018, far greater than the entire premium cigar industry combined.

Altria acquired Nat Sherman due to its cigarette portfolio, which included Nat Sherman Naturals, a rival to American Spirit, a premium cigarette.

In the nearly three years since, Altria has let Michael Herklots, vp of Nat Sherman International, continue to run the premium cigar division seemingly with little interference. Nat Sherman cigars are still being made by the Plasencia and Quesada families, just as they were before; the company’s New York Townhouse, a sprawling retail space in the heart of Manhattan is the same as it was before the sale; and while recently re-designed, most of the company’s brands remain today.

“I’m honored to have had the opportunity to lead the development of Nat Sherman International’s premium cigar business since 2011, and I am eternally grateful to the Nat Sherman International Team, our loyal retailers and consumers, and our manufacturing partners,” said Herklots. “I look forward to the next chapter of our story.”

A sale would include the wholesale premium cigar business, the Nat Sherman pipe tobacco brands and lease on the Nat Sherman Townhouse. Altria appears to have just begun the process.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.