For the first time in our near ten years of existence, Cigar Coop is attending ProCigar 2020! Actually, this author is attending a portion of the event and for the most part coming in somewhere in the middle of this..
ProCigar is an organization of cigar manufacturers based in the Dominican Republic. Each year they put on an annual festival that is a combination of farm and factory tours, seminars, and gala evening events. It is put on for end-consumers and is usually held in February. It is one of three major festivals in the cigar industry with the others being Festival del Habano (Cuba) and Puro Sabor (Nicaragua). While I haven’t been to these other two festivals, in terms of maturity I’ve been told ProCigar falls somewhere in the middle – namely Festival del Habano is the oldest show and Puro Sabor is the emerging show.
ProCigar takes place in two cities. The first part took place February 16-18 in the Southeast part in the Dominican Republic in La Romana. La Romana is home to Tabacalera de Garcia, the largest cigar factory in the world. The La Romana portion of ProCigar is a more relaxed part of the event. The second half of this trip takes place in Santiago de los Caballeros in the North-Central part of the Dominican Republic. It’s an area that is accessible to many of the cigar industry’s manufacturing and agricultural operations. I’m attending this portion with the exception of the final day.
It’s not a Trade Show like IPCPR/PCA and TPE where retailers come to make their orders, so we won’t be reporting much on products, if at all. Some companies like Quesada and La Aurora have utilized the festival to preview new products. For the most part these releases tend to be announced in a more relaxed setting as opposed to having a formal launch.
Finally I also won’t be writing “we woke up and had a hearty breakfast” posts (first, I hate breakfast; second, any non-breakfast food pictures are saved for Instagram and company). I’m envisioning I’ll report more on observations going on a the festival and facilities I tour. Perhaps the most interesting one will be how the cigar industry comes together during a time where it has been more divided than ever. I’m sure there will be conversations about the Big Four, TPE aftermath, TAA and PCA pre-game talks, and FDA, but where the road in Santiago takes me will be anyone’s guess.