The TAA 2020 Meeting & Convention is now canceled.
Today, the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) met and voted on how to proceed with this year’s event, which was supposed to take place March 22-26, 2020 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Two weeks ago, the group announced it would postpone the event due to coronavirus COVID-19 but hoped to host the event in late September or early October.
The TAA is a fairly small group of some of the country’s top tobacconists, about 80 retailers as well as 40 or so manufacturers. The association gathers annually to discuss issues facing the industry and retailers, networking and to sell a lot of cigars.
During the convention, the organization hosts two distinct selling events. One is known as the Dream Machine, an optional event where manufacturers offer the entire group of retailers tiered specials and discounts. The more the group collectively agrees to buy, the better the discounts and deals are for every retailer involved. In addition, the week includes a more traditional trade show which oftentimes sees some of the most aggressive discounts of the year.
For most of the vendors attending TAA, that week is usually amongst the top one or two weeks of selling throughout the year.
Despite the cancellation of the in-person meeting, TAA is moving forward with its Tobacconists’ Association of America Exclusive Series Program (ESP) cigars, exclusive releases from various manufacturers that are only offered to retail members of the organization. Manufacturers are expected to give a portion of sales, oftentimes $1 per cigar, back to the organization.
Drew Estate, E.P. Carrillo, La Aurora, My Father, Nat Sherman International, Tatuaje and Villiger have also announced TAA exclusives for 2020. Drew Estate and Nat Sherman International began shipping those releases this week.
TAA will also likely still hold its Dream Machine. Two years ago after Hurricane Irma hit St. Martin, which was scheduled to host the TAA’s 2017 event, the group began hosting virtual Dream Machines, something that has continued annually.