One of the nice parts of InterTabac is that most companies have the same booths—err stands—every year and for the most part, they are in the same locations. That means once inside the correct hall, I can find my way around pretty easily. The problem is getting to the correct hall.
My taxi driver dropped me off at the arena, which meant that I wondered through three halls before making it into a passageway that led out to a familiar sight for me, the one you see above, the first of two primary halls at InterTabac for cigar companies. Once there, it was pretty easy.
As is the case just about every year, I wandered around saying hi to various people in the industry. At heart, InterTabac is a relationship show where distributors and suppliers meet for meetings. For me, it’s still a relationship show, just without scheduled one-hour meetings. While there’s not a ton of new product, I did see a few new things and some other interesting things, some of which are mentioned below.
In 2016, J. Cortès bought Oliva Cigar Co. While few knew of J. Cortès in the U.S., the company is established in Europe. This year the company got a new stand and moved locations, combining both its Oliva and J. Cortès presences into one area.
The Tatuaje RC Series was back on display, though this time with a slightly different looks as there is now a regular Tatuaje band and then the RC Series band as a secondary. More information about the European exclusives can be found here.
One of the more unique packaging options I’ve seen in quite some time is the Maya Selva sampler, packaged in a beer can. While CLE introduced a sampler in a can, that product wasn’t made to mimic a beer can. This is deceiving enough that at first I thought Maya Selva was going into the beer business.
I’m told the samplers will be available early next year.
Some other random observations from Day 1.
- The Regular Weather is Back — While it was hot on Thursday, the chilly weather I’ve come to expect in Dortmund is back. As someone who wears hoodies year-round, this is a welcome change.
- More American Media — A few years ago Drew Estate and Royal Agio Cigars brought a dozen or so American media members to InterTabac is part of a trip to visit Agio’s European operation. Since then, I haven’t seen a single American who works in cigar media at InterTabac. This year that changed as Cigar Press is once again here and Cigar Aficionado has someone in attendance. This certainly highlights both the importance of InterTabac, but also the advantages it has compared to trying to get significant facetime with people at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.On a similar note, as there is pretty much every year, there’s a dozen or so Americans that seem to be here for the first time.
- The Construction Still Isn’t Done — I never really sought confirmation on when this would be finished, but it turns out the construction on the Westfalenhallen is still not done. The amount of construction equipment is certainly reduced, but from what I understand there is still more to be done for next year.
After InterTabac I headed back to the hotel to change for Cigar Journal’s annual award show, which is extremely well done. After that it was off to the opening party and dinner and then back to the hotel, a relatively quiet night.