While it might seem like cigar prices are increasing across the board, for every company that is raising prices, about one seems to be avoiding the increase.
After its national sales meeting, Miguel Schoedel, national sales manager for Toraño Family Cigar Company, told halfwheel that the prices of Toraño and Leccia, which Toraño distributes, will not be increasing.
For most companies, the annual sales meeting will be when these increases are historically announced. For example, Schoedel’s counterpart at La Flor Dominicana, Jon Carney, told halfwheel he did not expect the increase would come, but the sales meeting was next week, so there was still room for that to change.
Carney was not the only one unable to definitively commit. Representatives at Gurkha and Rocky Patel told halfwheel nothing was on the table right now, but there was no hard commitment. Pete Johnson, who historically had avoided price increases as much as any, indicated this year would be tough given rising tobacco costs, but believed he could avoid raises prices for his two companies, Havana Cellars/Tatuaje and L’Atelier Imports.
One company was quite confident. Alex Goldman of Royal Gold Cigars told halfwheel the company would not be raising prices on “its premium lines in 2014.”
Dion Giolito told halfwheel Illusione would not be increasing prices in early 2014. In November, the company announced minor increases and changes.
In addition, Ezra Zion and Miami Cigar & Co. both told halfwheel no price increase was planned as of now.
For those hoping that yesterday’s announcement regarding Gran Habano would be the last of the price increases, it’s wishful thinking, at least two companies have indicated to halfwheel formalized price increases are still yet to be announced.
While labor costs have been a large part of price increases over the past few years, many have echoed Johnson and Skip Martin of RoMa Craft Tobac citing the increasing costs of tobacco, particularly wrapper.
For the consumer, price increases will likely take months to be realized as retailers will oftentimes avoid raising prices on any older stock.
Update (Jan. 22): The original version of this story inaccurately characterized Illusione’s November price increase.