This month was a historic month for the cigar industry – and not in a positive way. On August 8th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented its Deeming Regulations for premium cigars. An offshoot saw the rise of something that we have termed “Stealth Products”.
What is Stealth Product?
We defined a stealth product as a cigar that has had virtually no marketing and for the most part have been sight unseen before arriving at a retail cigar establishment. While this is not an entirely new concept to the cigar industry, stealth products have been showing much more frequency this month than any time in the history of the U.S. premium cigar business.
There is one common thread about the recent swarm of these stealth products: they were sold, invoiced, and shipped to retailers all before August 8th, 2016 – the date when the Deeming Regulations took effect. Any cigar released from August 8th and beyond must get regulatory approval from the FDA.
The reason for stealth products is that there is a window that extends to February 7, 2018 where cigar manufacturers and brand owners have can apply for FDA approval for products that are not grandfathered from regulation (February 15, 2007) but released before the August 8th date. Therefore, there was a rush of products released before August 8th.
Our Position on Reporting on Stealth Product
Many know our philosophy in terms of our news reporting. We don’t report rumors and we don’t report teasers. With the rise of the stealth products, we took a look at how this fits into our model – and found it really contradicts this philosophy.
When the stealth products started appearing, we started reporting on instances where these products were showing up. It was pointed out to us that in a way, we were actually reporting teasers. Since many companies have refused to talk or even confirm the existence of stealth product they have shipped, an argument can be made this is essentially a type of teaser. I concur with this argument.
Therefore we no longer devote significant cycles to reporting or chasing down stealth products. Once a company is willing to provide or disclose some foundational information, we will devote the cycles to provide “the story behind the product” and do things with the quality and accuracy you have come to expect on Cigar Coop.
Occasionally we might smoke a few stealth products on Stogie Geeks, but no in-depth reviews or news reports will be done on Cigar Coop until reliable foundational information is made available.
In this author’s opinion, the stealth product approach is a very dangerous path the cigar industry is taking. While I get the benefits of getting around the August 8th deadline, to me to put any product on the market without putting some level of marketing concerns me. I’m also concerned of products appearing on shelves that “might not be quite ready”. On top of that, I don’t see consumer demand increasing to keep up with what will be a larger supply of cigars hitting the marketplace.
Net-Net: While I don’t claim to be an economics expert, the idea of increasing the supply of product (cigars) in the market with little to no marketing behind it- all while demand constant stays doesn’t seem to be a formula for long-term success.
Whether or not my concerns come to fruition are to be determined……
August is typically milestone month on Cigar Coop and Stogie Geeks and this past month we hit three big ones. We thank all of our readers, viewed, and listeners for their support during our time in existence.
- August 11th, 2016: Back on July 3rd, 2012, Cigar Coop made the decision to become a 365 day a year web-site. Since then we haven’t missed a beat. On August 11th, we completed 1,500 consecutive days of publishing original content. As of today, our streak is at 1,522 days. During this time, we never back-dated or copy / pasted our content – and there certainly has been no off-days for vacation and/or holiday.
- August 15th, 2016: Cigar Coop celebrated six years being in operation. As noted many times, the concept of Cigar Coop didn’t exact start because of a cigar.
- August 26, 2015: The partnership between Cigar Coop and Stogie Geeks celebrated its third anniversary. Since then, we have expanded to four brands as we added Stogie Geeks News and Stogie Geeks Shorts – and continue to grow.