While Eddie Ortega won’t be in the Quality Importers booth at this week’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, if you want to order Ortega Premium Cigars going forward, you are going to have to talk to Quality Importers.
In August, the companies will unveil a new partnership that will see Quality Importers become the exclusive distributor for Ortega Premium Cigars. Ortega and his brands will move over to Quality Importers, where he will help lead the company’s in-house sales team and continue to develop his Ortega brand.
Ortega told halfwheel that he still owns Ortega Premium Cigars and its trademarks.
Quality Importers is best known for its extensive humidor distribution, but the company is also the exclusive distributor of products like the popular Stinky Ashtray, the Cult brand of cigars, the Big Easy Tobacco Co. brands, which it acquired in 2013, and others.
“I’m going to shift gears,” said Ortega. “(Michael Giordano, Quality Importers president) made me nice an offer, he’s got great distribution.”
Ortega Premium Cigars was founded in 2012 after Ortega and Erik Espinosa dissolved EO Brands. As part of that agreement, Ortega retained rights to the Cubao, REO and Vibe brands, while Espinosa got 601, Murcielago and Mi Barrio. Ortega quickly got to work on the Serie D, a My Father Cigars S.A.-made cigars, and followed it up Serie D Maduro, Serie D Black, the limited Wild Bunch Sampler and HeavyDuty amongst others.
According to Ortega, the Serie D brands will continue to be made by My Father Cigars S.A., but future Ortega releases are likely to come from Tacasa S.A., the factory Quality Importers works with for its Cult brand. The dormant REO and Vibe brands are slated to be amongst the first projects from Tacasa.
In recent months, Ortega has partnered with Sean Williams of El Primer Mundo for two limited release collaborations. He indicated that the door remains open for more of those in the future.
The new distribution agreement is expected to take effect Aug. 3.