Just to set the record straight, Day Four of the 2023 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show is the penultimate day of the Trade Show. While I wouldn’t categorize any of the happenings of this day as dramatic, this was definitely the most interesting day of the trade show thus far.

The day kicked off with the annual cigar media press conference. I’ve always appreciated that during the press conference, Executive Director Scott Pearce and PCA President Greg Zimmermann (and now incoming PCA President Scott Regina) have made themselves available to the media. It’s why I’ve always been quite disappointed there is not 100% media brand representation in the press conference.

There was plenty of talk about PCA 2025 in New Orleans – a show that is TWO YEARS away. This was no surprise because as I’ve said earlier, there is no bigger soap opera than the debate on where PCA should be. My issue is there will be plenty of time for cigar media to talk PCA 2025 and now we should talk PCA 2023.

There were a few additional topics: While many people may not realize this, beginning in 2024, the final half day of the show is being eliminated. Several members of the media gave their perspective on the fact this will reduce the coverage of the Trade Show because the final day is often one of the busiest ones in terms of coverage.

Also discussed was the return of the Altadis and Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG), the PCA said that both companies have told them they will be returning for 2024.

The PCA also said the Boutique Cigar Association (BCA) Pavilion was deemed a success and that the BCA indicated it would be returning for 2024. As I reported on the Day Three Post-Game Report, the BCA saw a nice amount of foot traffic.

Meanwhile, as far as foot traffic goes, fewer people were on the Trade Show floor on Monday. There seemed to be an early surge in activity in the morning, but as time passed, the foot traffic seemed to gradually decrease. By the late afternoon hours, I saw several key stakeholders from the manufacturing side leave their booths to go back to their hotels (some were heading to a CRA meeting – more on that later). At the same time, it is not uncommon for some companies to send employees home after Day Three. Lately, some companies have been shutting down their booths after Day Three. One of the reasons for employees leaving early or booths shutting down is because many people are already flying home.

Many people asked me when I was going home. I was a little surprised because in the past twelve years, I have been at the Trade Show until the final bell. It was almost like people were now surprised I was staying for the final day. It was this thinking that made me understand PCA’s decision to eliminate the final half day.

This day saw many of the manufacturers gathered together in an attempt to raise money for Cigar Rights of America (CRA). The effort was supported by many of the leading stakeholders in the manufacturing and brand owners. This is a good thing, and I’m quite happy the industry does this. The problem is this meeting takes place during the main show hours at 5:30pm. This creates a challenge for media people looking to conduct interviews with these stakeholders. This actually hit the Coop team hard with our appointments and schedule. Personally, I think this belongs outside the show hours, but my recommendation if this needs to be done during show hours, is this should get on the published schedule earlier than later – as it will allow for better planning on our part.

Photo Credits: Cigar Coop