The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a plethora of virtual events by the cigar industry. Some have been Zoom calls connecting with customers or retailers. Some have been virtual sales events. In other cases some companies have decided they have wanted to become podcasters. While certainly this content has been made available, one thing that seems to have been short on the virtual side has been showcasing the new product announcements. The annual PCA Trade Show and Convention has always provided that forum to showcase the new products. With the Trade Show cancelled, it has created a void in that forum to showcase the new products. One can certainly see there has been a dip in new product announcements this summer, but there still has been enough where there could still be a forum. This is where the Virtual Trade Show comes in.

We’re scheduling our first Virtual Trade Show on Episode 148 of the Prime Time Show – scheduled for July 23, 2020 at 9pm Eastern Time.

The concept of a Virtual Trade Show is not one that came up as a result of COVID-19. We also are not claiming to be the first to do this in the cigar industry.

The last two years, we have done a pre-game for the IPCPR/PCA Trade Show called the “Big Board Show” where we talked through all of the releases that had been announced leading up to the trade show. Following the 2019 Trade Show, we had planned for 2020 to make a change to the format. Instead of our team going through the list of cigars being showcased at the Trade Show, we thought we would make it more interesting by bringing a representative from each brand on the show to discuss their releases. The show was planned for this past June, but with COVID-19 slowing down the product announcements, we have pushed this back into July.

Under the Virtual Trade Show, each company/brand will be given an exclusive 5 to 10 minute window to talk about their Summer of ’20 releases. It’s a different format than many will be used to. A few important points:

  • We are doing our best to reach out to as many companies as possible. It’s not an exact science, but as long as a summer release is planned, we will be as inclusive as possible.
  • This will NOT be a vHerf. We will not have multiple companies on at the same time. While consumers and retailers will be able to watch the live broadcast or replay, they will not be in the Zoom room.
  • This is product-focused around releases planned for the June to September timeframe. We are encouraging the companies to give comprehensive information about the releases they are talking about. We are discouraging the “we got this project planned but can’t talk about it yet” conversations.
  • This is not intended to take the place of our in-depth interviews on Prime Time, so you may see some of these guests in upcoming weeks.
  • There will be no display with a whole bunch of product spread out on a tablecloth – unless one of our guests is ambitious.

We will have a list of scheduled attendees as we approach July 23 that we will post on Cigar Coop.

Manufacturers and brands my contact us here if you did not receive an invitation, but want to participate. (Please do not use the comments section, as these sometimes do get picked up by spam filters).