2024 PCA Pre-Game The Show


PCA 2024 Pre-Game – The Show

For the 14th year, the Cigar Coop brand will provide coverage of the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show and Convention. This is also the 14th consecutive Trade Show we are covering, and we are proud to be a part of a tiny group of media to say that. Our four-part series for the 2024 PCA Trade Show has you covered whether you are going to the Show or following from home.

In this installment, we review some of the basics of the Show’s logistics and answer some questions about it.

What is the PCA?

PCA stands for Premium Cigar Association. The organization was founded in 1933 as the RTDA (Retail Tobacco Dealers of America). In 2007, the RTDA was renamed to IPCPR (International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers) and then renamed the Premium Cigar Association in 2019. The Premium Cigar Association defines itself as:

Founded in 1933 as the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) is the oldest, largest and most active trade association representing and assisting retailers of premium tobacco products and their suppliers.

The PCA represents nearly 3,000 retail stores who employ 30,000+ retail workers. As the only full-service premium tobacco organization, we fight for our members against onerous, business-killing regulations and taxes, provide business-enhancing professional development, and help strengthen business relationships through our best-in-class trade show and other business-to-business offerings.

The PCA is the premium cigar and pipe industry’s center of excellence.

What is the PCA Trade Show and Convention?

The PCA Trade Show and Convention is an annual gathering that allows the cigar industry to showcase and sell products to cigar retailers. Typically, cigar manufacturers use this event to launch and showcase their latest products. Often, manufacturers provide “show deals” to offer incentives to buy products.

In addition, there are a series of educational seminars and social networking events. In recent years, the education piece has been more of a focus of the PCA.

The Trade Show and Convention targets retailers, manufacturers, and service providers. All attendees, including members of the media, must be PCA members. The 2024 show is the 91st edition of this event.


When and Where

March 22 -25, 2024
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada

The Trade Show and Convention will be in Las Vegas for the eighth year in a row. This is the 11th time in 13 years it has been held in Vegas, and nine of those 11 times, it has been held at the Venetian Expo Center.

Photo Credit: The Cigar Shop

As many know, this year’s trade show has moved to March instead of the early July timeframe that the Trade Show has had for several years. Sources close to the PCA have said the Venetian would not offer PCA a spring date. Thus, this has led to PCA finding alternative options. The Trade Show is back at the Las Vegas Convention Center this year. During the years the Trade Show has been in Las Vegas, it has been held at the Venetian, except for 2017 and 2018. In both of those years, the Trade Show was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The move to the Las Vegas Convention Center also changes the host hotels. With the Trade Show no longer at the Venetian Expo Center, the Venetian/Palazzo will no longer serve as a host hotel. The host hotels are now the Westgate (adjacent to the Convention Center) and Resorts World (on the Strip). We will cover more about this later.

While this is a significant change to the Trade Show, more changes are coming. The Trade Show is moving back to New Orleans in 2025 for the first time in a decade. This is due to the lack of availability of convention space.

PCA Board of Directors

The PCA held elections to its Board of Directors. The winners will be announced and ratified at the annual meeting.

Smoking Policies

As we have said many times, it is getting harder and harder to smoke in Las Vegas. This was evident by the Venetian’s strict smoking policies in areas of the Convention center and its hotel. According to PCA, they have entered into contracts with the Las Vegas Convention Center and host hotel. These contracts specify designated smoking areas and times that show management, exhibitors, attendees, and all other members or non-members associated with the Show must adhere to to comply with these contracts. This is a serious issue that is important in order to be able to host future trade shows, not only in Las Vegas but throughout the country.

The PCA has stated that the smoking policy guidelines will be strictly enforced. Penalties could include a fine of as much as $15,000, removal from the Show, and potential banning from future shows.

Ethical Marketing Policies

At its 2024 Trade Show, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) will implement an Ethical Marketing Policy. This policy contains code requirements for acceptable age verification and marketing to adults. These marketing practices also include policies addressing trademarks and trade dress. In addition to the guidelines, the PCA has implemented a series of monitoring and enforcement policies and a support network. We recently covered these policies in detail.

2024 Agenda and Schedule

Note: This is the schedule as reported at press time. The significant change is the elimination of the final half day, thus reducing time on the trade show floor from 3 1/2 days to 3 days.


Like last year, the PCA has moved the seminars, opening meeting, keynote, and opening party to the night before the actual trade show opens.

10am – 700pm: Registration Check In

Noon – 12:45: Cigar Docuseries Premiere: Hand Rolled: Tatuaje Cigars

1pm – 1:45pm: Cigar Pairing Cigars

2pm – 3pm: Blending Seminar: Nick Melillo

3:15pm – 4pm: Premium Cigar Association Annual Meeting

4:15pm – 5pm: Keynote: The Padrón Family

5:30pm – 7pm: Opening Party sponsored by Crowned Heads and E.P. Carrillo



8am – 5pm: Registration Check In

9am – 10am: Education: New Association Benefits

10am – 6pm: Trade Show Open

4pm – 6pm: Happy Hour Cigar Bar (Presented by Illusione Cigars)


8am – 5pm: Registration Check In

9am – 10am: Education: Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

10am – 6pm: Trade Show Open

11am – Noon: State of Advocacy Breakout Forum

Noon to 2pm: State Association Meeting

4pm – 6pm: Happy Hour Cigar Bar (Presented by Toscano Cigars)

6pm – 7:30pm: Best of the Leaf Awards


8am – 5pm: Registration Check In

9am – 5pm: Trade Show Open

Noon – 2pm: State Association Meetings

3pm – 5pm: Happy Hour Cigar Bar (Presented by Boveda)

4pm – 5pm: Women of PCA Networking Event

10:30pm – 1am: PCA After Dark: Exclusive Nightclub Access at Jewel Night Club

PCA 2024 Pre-Game – Additional Thoughts and FAQs

This year, we will focus the editorial more on logistics. In Part 2, we will explore deeper topics and trends.

1. What is new for this year’s Show?

  • Spirits Pavilion: This year, spirits companies will have an opportunity to exhibit on the show floor in a dedicated area. The PCA is starting with a small number of vendors in 2024. This area will also feature a Putt Putt course, a 360-degree camera, a food court, and a lounge.
  • Best of the Leaf Awards: This awards program recognizes member retailers.
  • Women of PCA Networking Event: This reception is based on the new Women of PCA initiative.

2. Will the BCA be back at PCA?

Yes, the BCA is coming back with the BCA Pavilion. While we didn’t get a chance to cover the individual companies last year, I observed that the Pavilion seemed pretty active on numerous occasions.

BCA stands for Boutique Cigar Association. Founded in 2016, the BCA is an association of small cigar companies across the United States. Its mission is to promote and support small, family-owned cigar businesses that manufacture fewer than one million cigars per year.

Last year, the PCA and BCA  entered into a  “collaborative relationship.” As a part of the relationship, the Boutique Cigar Association of America became a part of the Premium Cigar Association Trade Show in 2023. That partnership led to the formation of the BCA Pavilion, an area at this year’s PCA show that will allow BCA members to exhibit and showcase their products.

The BCA Pavilion is a common space reserved for 16 companies (at press time). These companies must be members of the Boutique Cigar Association. Within that space, each company will have a kiosk-like booth where it can do business. The Pavilion provides a more cost-effective solution for the profile of the smaller companies that make up the association.

3. The Convention Center and Host Hotels are changing, so what?

The move to the Las Vegas Convention Center will bring change.

First, the Las Vegas Convention Center is massive. Because of expansion, it is actually bigger than it was when the Trade Show was last there. Now at 4,600,000 sq ft, it is nearly twice the size of the Venetian Expo. The Trade Show takes place at the Central Hall on Paradise Road. This is about a 25 to 30-minute walk to the Las Vegas Strip, which is located to the west.

In 2017 and 2018, the cigar industry complained so much about the two Las Vegas Convention Center shows that they convinced the IPCPR to move. The previous complaints were less about the Convention Center and more about the hotel situation. The cigar industry liked that the Venetian Expo was connected to the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels. You didn’t have to leave the building to go from your room to the trade show, or to the cigar industry’s favorite watering hole, Bar Luca. While the Las Vegas Convention Center does have a connecting hotel called the Westgate, the feeling was it was a much further walk and inferior hotel to what Venetian and Palazzo offereed.

Things have changed since the PCA Trade Show moved out of the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2018. First, the Convention Center has undergone a massive expansion to the west. Regarding staying on the Strip, PCA has added Resorts World as a host hotel. While the West Hall is closer to the Strip, it still is a long walk to the Central Hall, so there are the underground Tesla Loop shuttles (literally Tesla cars) that will take you from Resorts World to the Central Hall. As for the Westgate, from what I understand, ongoing renovations have resulted in improvements.

Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson; Licensed: CC BY 2.0

Parking at the Convention Center is not free for those traveling by car to the Show. It was free to park at the Venetian. From what I understand, going to the Las Vegas Convention Center will cost ten dollars per day.

In terms of “So What,” if you are hoping to roll out of bed and go to the trade show, you aren’t going to have much of an option. The other issue will be the after-hours smoking options, which we will cover in the next section.

4. What about after-hours and Bar Luca?

One of the significant changes will be the after-hours gathering places.

For many years, the old Laguna Champagne Bar and, more recently, Bar Luca at the Palazzo Hotel has been the cigar industry’s favorite watering hole. “Business is done at Bar Luca,” I’ve heard said many times. For the most part, this is an exception rather than a rule, but in the end, the cigar industry loves to hang out at a bar where they can smoke.

Complaints arose about Bar Luca at the 2023 Trade Show. First, the Venetian/Palazzo was quite upset about the crowd overflowing into the casino aisles from Bar Luca. This was nothing new; I’ve seen and heard this before in previous years (the photo above is from 2022). This year, I’ve heard from numerous attendees that security was more forward in terms of trying to clear the aisles. Second, Bar Luca imposed minimal purchases for anyone sitting at a table.

Resorts World will offer two cigar bar options on a host property this year. These bars are Gatsby and Eight Lounge. If you are staying at Resorts World, this will be convenient. At the same time, it will be a challenge for attendees to smoke after hours. Because the Trade Show conflicts with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, smoking lounges (and restaurants) will be crowded. The PCA has set up a reservation link to make reservations at Gatsby and Eight. Cigar Coop has confirmed minimums for reserving a table for two at Gatsby and Eight were $500.00 and $200.00 respectively. Both have confirmed you can still go to the bar area and stand (or sit at the bar), but this will be allowed on a first come, first serve basis.

The good news is that Resorts World seems more supportive of after-hours activity than Venetian. The bad news is that with bar minimums and crowds, the Bar Luca problem won’t be totally solved.

It’s getting much more challenging to smoke in Las Vegas every year. Options are becoming more and more limited. There are options, such as Davidoff (Fashion Center Mall), Montecristo (Caesars and Paris), Casa Fuente (Caesars), and, of course, Bar Luca. I expect similar crowds at these places. These places will not be in the vicinity of many of the host hotels. Outdoor locations can be an option, but remember it gets down to 50 to 55 degrees at night in Vegas during March.

5. Can anyone go to the PCA Convention and Trade Show?

No, it is not open to the public. You can only attend if you are an industry trade or media member of the PCA. Consumers may not become PCA members. PCA has stated that it will enforce this policy.

6. What Will Cigar Coop’s PCA Media Coverage Look Like in 2024?

This is the combined efforts of Cigar Coop, the Smoking Syndicate, El Oso Fumar, and Let’s Get Pairing. It will combine journalism, video, podcasts, and social media.

7. How Do I Find Out Who is Going to the Trade Show and What They Are Exhibiting?

The Cigar Big Board will tell you which companies are going to the Trade Show (and which aren’t) and what products are being showcased. Once the trade show closes, you will also find our booth coverage reports here.

We try our best to maintain this information. Some companies are more forthcoming than others, making this a yearly challenge.

PCA 2024 – The Big Board


2024 PCA Pre-Game Series – Other Installments

Photo/Images Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted