Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG)—the parent company of General Cigar Co., Cigars International, Thompson and others—has announced that next month it will launch an entirely new cigar distribution company called the Forged Cigar Co., aimed at serving brick-and-mortar retailers.
Effectively, the company will be splitting its massive catalog of brands between the existing General Cigar Co. and the new Forged Cigar Co., which will operate independently from General and have its own large salesforce.
Forged’s portfolio will include:
- Bolivar Cofradia*
- Chillin’ Moose
- La Gloria Cubana*
General’s portfolio will now include:
- Hoyo de Monterrey*
- Other Brands
*Notes that this only includes the U.S. distribution rights for these brands, which are separate from the Cuban versions of these cigars.
In addition, the company said that the Forged Cigar Co. could also serve as a distributor for other, third-party brands that are not owned by General Cigar Co.
STG says that it has made a multi-million dollar investment in launching the Forged Cigar Co., notably a commitment to 12 sales reps. The list of sales reps includes a variety of industry veterans: Jared Biocca, Cameron Calhoun, John Gallogly, Nate McIntyre, Dave Mealey and Jim Murray.
It will be led by Sean Hardiman, who has worked for General for the last decade and is now the national sales manager for Forged. In addition, STG says that the Forged Cigar Co. will receive “independent marketing and customized programming” initiatives.
“When we announced last year our withdrawal from the annual PCA Show, we committed to investing funds back into the premium cigar category,” said Régis Broersma, svp of North American Branded and Rest of World division for STG, in a press release. “Today, with The Forged Cigar Company, we are doing just that with a multimillion dollar investment in the brick and mortar channel. In having two separate sales companies, we will have more feet on the street to better serve the needs of STG’s retail partners, and the ability to be more agile in supporting our current and future brands.”
This is not the first time STG has gotten creative and tried a second distribution company. In 2016, it hired a variety of independent sales representatives to sell cigars through Foundry Tobacco Co., which was previously part of the General portfolio. That project lasted about a year and STG ultimately ended up selling Foundry to Kretek International in 2018.