First off, my apologies on the delay of this post. My intention was to produce daily blogs from the event, but as I tried to figure out how to recap the second day—and for that matter, the third and final day of the trade show—I realized that not much had changed. And perhaps that’s where we start.


If we were giving out awards for trade shows that have changed the most in the last decade—at least the ones that are still around—InterTabac and the Tobacco Plus Expo would certainly be the two leading candidates.

And it’s true, InterTabac has tripled the number of halls it uses since I started attending in 2012. Similarly, the number of American companies that attend each year is way up as well; however, it’s also challenging to see the differences in many parts of the Westfallenhallen, particularly in the two areas where most of the cigar companies are located.

In my Day 1 coverage, I made note that J. Cortès and Oliva had a new booth this year and a new booth location. At the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show that wouldn’t be something worth mentioning. A company like Warped has yet to use the same booth twice and the floorplan is different every year. But in Dortmund, those things almost always stay the same.

It makes it easy for me and those that attend every year because once you attend the show once or twice, you generally know where everything is.

It’s a similar story when it comes to what actually happens during the trade show. For cigar companies, InterTabac is about meeting with distributors. And while some of those distributors change, most of them are the same each and every year.

For me, the show is about getting face time with people, something that is increasingly more and more challenging at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. And so while I could write that on Saturday that I saw Ashton, and then Arturo Fuente, and then Drew Estate, etc. I’m not sure that would be very entertaining as we weren’t discussing much in the way of new products, largely because there aren’t many.

Yes, there are new products. Probably more new products debuting at InterTabac than ever before, but the number is still extremely small when compared to events like the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show or the Tobacconists’ Association of America Meeting & Convention.

But at the end of the day—particularly if you don’t go to any of the five new halls largely dedicated to vapor products, hookah and manufacturing of other tobacco products—you would be hard pressed to visually see a different InterTabac than the one I first visited.

…on to 2019

I’ve already made my hotel reservations for 2019 because hotels in Dortmund are not easy to find when InterTabac is in town and I’ll be back. My hope is there isn’t much change as the current format is well-liked by most.

I was told by multiple distributors that the retail attendance, particularly by the smaller German retailers, continues to decline, a trend no different than the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. That’s not something many of the people I spend time talking with really notice, as they aren’t there for retailers. In some regards, there are two different trade shows going on: the principals of American companies meeting with distributors while sales representatives bring German retailers around a stand—each side fairly oblivious and uninterested in the other.

The events around InterTabac—Cigar Journal’s awards, the J. Cortès party, Joya de Nicaragua’s book event, STG’s Thursday party—continue to be as enjoyable as any event I’ll attend during the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, something that’s probably helped by the fact I’m not hosting a Facebook Live show early the next morning.

But I would be lying if I said there wasn’t one massive change needed after this year: I really would like a Borussia Dortmund home game during the weekend next year. echte liebe.

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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.