Swisher International, the company best known for Swisher Sweets, is entering the premium cigar market with Royal Gold Cigars spearheaded by industry veteran Alex Goldman. According to a report, Goldman, formerly of House of Oxford/Mom’s Cigars, has been hired as the new premium division’s president.

The new brand is excepted to launch at IPCPR 2013 in July, although the brand might appears as early as April for “test marketing.” Peter Ghiloni, who replaced the retiring Tom Ryan as president and CEO at the beginning of the year, hinted premium cigars was one segment of “growth plans in several key areas.”

According to the CDC, Swisher, the largest total cigar company in the world, sold 2.6 billion “large cigars and cigarillos” in 2010, or 21 percent of the total market. In addition, the company sold 575 million little cigars. By contrast, Altadis USA sold 1.5 billion “large cigars and cigarillos” and 110 million little cigars in the same year.

Goldman’s House of Oxford merged with Harold Levinson Associates in 2010.

The formal press release is below:

Swisher International Launches New Premium Cigar Division with Hiring of Industry Veteran, Alex Goldman

February 5, 2013 (Jacksonville, Fla.) — Swisher International announced today that Alex Goldman has joined the company as President of Royal Gold Cigars, a new premium cigar division. Goldman’s tenure began on Jan. 2, 2013, to spearhead the division specifically created to build upon his extensive industry experience.
“Alex’s leadership of House of Oxford/Mom’s Cigars as its owner and president for the past 20 years positions him perfectly to develop and market our new premium cigar lineup,” says Peter Ghiloni, President of Swisher International.
Goldman will lead Royal Gold Cigars in developing and introducing various cigar lines to compete with key players in the premium cigar market. Test marketing of the new line up is planned for April with a national launch set for the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Annual Convention & International Trade Show in July in Las Vegas.
“As a fourth generation tobacconist, I have cemented relationships that will enable Royal Gold Cigars to develop, source and market an array of premium products that customers will enjoy at competitive price points,” Goldman explained. “Operating as a division of Swisher International gives Royal Gold Cigar the opportunity to tap into Swisher’s leadership and leverage its resources, while maintaining an independent business model.”
Ghiloni adds, “This as an exciting new chapter for Swisher International, which aligns with our growth plans in several key areas of the overall tobacco market.”

Update (February 7, 2013): Added press release.

Avatar photo

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda 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.