After about an hour delay in Phoenix and as the winds began to howl across the Las Vegas desert, I landed at Harry Reid International Airport on Tuesday afternoon to start what will be a couple of days of coverage of the 2023 Total Products Expo, or TPE as it is more commonly referred to.
I have been covering TPE—formerly known as the Tobacco Plus Expo—pretty much every year since 2013, with a few exceptions along the way. The show has evolved quite a bit over that decade. A decade ago, this seemed like a trade show geared towards head shops and now it feels like one focused on the growing vaping and e-cigarette market, with premium cigars becoming a growing part of the show floor, and cigar manufacturers now using TPE as a venue to launch new products on an increasingly regular basis.
Case in point, in the 24 hours or so before I left for Las Vegas, I wrote at least half a dozen stories about new products that will be formally released at TPE this year, including one where the manufacturer—Danny Ditkowich of La Sirena—announced he plans to use TPE to launch a series of limited editions over the next four years. Enrique Seijas of Matilde Cigar Co. has already laid out a similar plan, using TPE as a venue to add on to his Limited Exposure series.
As for the show, 2023 brings about a new name for TPE; as you noticed it is now called the Total Product Expo, a change that was announced in June 2022 as TPE will be expanding both its show floor and focus to include new exhibitors that fulfill the needs of independent retailers that carry multiple product categories.
“We are really pleased with the increasing success of TPE, and are excited about the potential of our evolution to the Total Product Expo in 2023,” said Jason Carignan, president of Tobacco Media Group (TMG), the host company for TPE, via a press release in June. “Every year we seek feedback from the show, and have consistently heard attendees ask for category expansion so more business can get done in one shot. This year we are answering the call, giving our customers an array of new exhibitors with products that their customers want and need.”
In practical terms, the show floor is said to be growing by 30 percent, and will feature a dedicated space for the new brands and product categories. According to an announcement from the company, those new categories will include snacks, beverages, point-of-sale items, general merchandise, gifts and more.
While this isn’t directly connected to the premium cigar industry, it does bring potentially more exposure and more customers to cigar companies who are exhibiting at TPE. I am certainly interested to see what that means when the show opens on Wednesday, and more importantly, what it means once the show wraps up on Friday and in the coming weeks and months.
I have not yet seen the show floor, but I can tell you from driving by the Las Vegas Convention Center that the front of the building is covered in banners and ads from companies exhibiting at the show, though none seemed to be premium cigar companies.
In terms of specific products that I’m excited to see, I try not to single out any one more than another, since I never know which will be the most impressive and I want to give everything an equal chance to impress. As in previous years, there should be no shortage of new products, as you can see by looking at all of the TPE-related articles we have written thus far.
As for the schedule, the show floor is officially open from 12 – 5 p.m., though media members get early access, meaning I’ll be on the floor at 11 a,m, PST and hopefully posting some content not long after. Charlie Minato will be joining me on Wednesday, and as we did last year, we’ll have a post with all the new products in it. We’ll also be posting to the halfwheel Instagram account, and some posts could also end up on my Instagram account as well as Charlie’s, so keep an eye on both of those.
The show runs daily through Friday at 4 p.m., so expect plenty of updates over the coming days. If there’s something you’re interested in knowing about the show or specific products, comment on an article and we’ll do our best to reply.