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Premium Cigar Association (PCA), CigarCon Formally Announced

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The IPCPR is officially the PCA and consumers will be coming to the trade show floor in 2020.

As we reported last week, the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers’ Association (IPCPR) has announced that it will be changing its name to the Premium Cigar Association (PCA), in addition, the trade show will welcome consumers to the cigar industry’s largest event next year.

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Consumers will be allowed onto the show floor on Saturday, July 11, 2020 from a tentative timeframe of noon-6 p.m. Retailers will also be allowed on the show floor, though they will not be allowed to conduct business. Instead, the wholesale trade show will run from Sunday-Tuesday, the latter of which is now a full day instead of the current half day.

Hundreds of retailers and manufacturers filled a blocked off part of the trade show floor to listen to a presentation led by Scott Pearce, the IPCPR’s executive director. The consumer day announcement got applause from some of the room—more than any other announcement to that point—though many set quietly.

It took 40 minutes before a real explanation came about why consumer day is happening: legal costs.

Rocky Patel was brought on stage to sell the event and explained that the legal bills as part of FDA regulations for “this year” have totaled $3.6 million, a burden largely shouldered by the IPCPR and a group of manufacturers that are part of Cigar Rights America (CRA).

Many key details, such as the cost of tickets, the number of cigars a consumer will get at CigarCon, and how much money CigarCon is expected to generate, were not announced, though it was later clarified that the organization hoped to sell 4,500 tickets, primarily through their local cigar retailer.

Pearce also acknowledged that the event would not be profitable even with 4,500 tickets sold in the first year, though declined to say when he hoped the event would be possible. The plan is not to cap the event at 4,500 tickets for future years, and said that the numbers could increase based on demand and ability to manage the crowd.

Those tickets are expected to go on sale in Q1 2020 through retail members. Pearce said tickets would primarily be sold through PCA retail members and he expected it to sell out, though acknowledged some accommodations might need to be made for consumers who might not be close to a brick-and-mortar retailer.

The PCA hopes to implement a technology that would allow for those consumer attendees to show which products they are interested in and for those products to be directly transmitted to the retailers who sold the consumers the tickets, with the intent of providing them insight as to what their customers are interested in when they return to the show floor over the following days.

The other big announcement is that the IPCPR is rebranding to the Premium Cigar Association, notably dropping the words pipe and retailers from the new name. While those words might be gone, the main focus of the organization remains the same, one still dedicated and controlled by retailers who sell pipes and cigars.

Pearce explained the name change was brought on partially because of confusion to do the existing IPCPR name. He told one story of a member of congress confusing the name with an organization that provides CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

There are also a host of other changes coming from the new PCA.

It will launch a new magazine for retailers, which will be shown off tomorrow, as well as a new website later in the year. That website will include more than the features on the IPCPR’s multiple websites. It will extend beyond just legislative issues and include things like business strategies for employee management, point of sale options and others.

There will also be further engagement from the PCA. That includes things like an event with the Congressional Black Caucus on Sept. 5, the first time the organization has hosted a formal event with the powerful congressional group. There will also be other events, including training at the PCA’s Washington, D.C. headquarters in October and then another roadshow event in Dallas in 2020.

In August, the PCA says it will launch a foundation that will produce research around cigars and pipes that could be used in the organization’s legislative fight.

Patrick Lagreid contributed to this article.

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NullDavidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

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 handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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