Qualifying Shop Exclusive Coverage Policies

While we have covered shop exclusives, in recent times we have moved our focus to wider distribution releases. Quite frankly, we have found shop exclusives an extremely difficult segment to cover. At the same time, it’s a segment we very much want to still cover. That being said, we have adjusted our policies on how we are covering this – and what makes the most business sense for Cigar Coop. Rather than over-engineer a process for covering this, we have implemented these simple rules.

  1. Scope: Effective November 1, 2023, we will only be covering shop exclusives for manufacturers who are either current sponsors of Cigar Coop or have a long-time relationship of consistency providing press information to Cigar Coop.
  2. No Timely Info/No Coverage: We strictly require a formal press release to be pro-actively sent to Cigar Coop on the same business day (close of business 5pm ET) the cigar is announced. If we see the story published elsewhere (whether another media site, on the retail site, or third-party advertising) and we have not been contacted the same business day, it will be ineligible for a story on Cigar Coop. No exceptions will be made if the information leaks out publicly prior to being released to media. Social media teases may also be considered a release of information as well.
  3. The Press Information Must Be Given to Us 72 Hours in Advance of the Release Date: This will ensure that our press will have enough time to generate interest in the cigar. Single store coverage will not be devoted to a cigar that is being released in under the 72 hour window, or one that is already on the shelves/online stock.
  4. No Single Store Coverage Around PCA: Single Store release coverage will not be done 30 days before the start of the PCA Trade Show, during the PCA Trade Show, or 30 days after the Trade Show. All other rules apply.
  5. Retailer/Manufacturer Commitment We ask for commitment by both the manufacturer and retailer to have a vested interest in the article. Too many times we have seen the commitment one-sided toward either the retailer or toward the manufacturer. In some cases, neither party gives a commitment!  If during the press collection process, we feel either party does not have a commitment to the article, or if either party in the past has not shown commitment to media coverage of a shop exclusive, we will decline the story. Our expectation is the retailer or manufacturer will promote our article on social media. If there is a history of articles not being shared, Cigar Coop may decline covering future shop exclusives.
  6. History of Providing News in a Timely Manner National Releases: If a manufacturer or retailer requests store exclusive coverage and the manufacturer is not communicating news information for their national releases in a timely manner, we will reject the request for store exclusive coverage.


  • A shop exclusive is a cigar that is exclusively distributed to a single retailer. A retailer may have multiple stores, but is still considered a “single” business. The cigar must be branded with a nationally recognized cigar brand name.
  • Cigar of the Month Club or subscription-based exclusives are also considered Shop Exclusives and subject to the same rules for coverage.
  • Announcing branded retail lounges, lounge cigars, or event cigars must comply with rules #1 and #2.
  • Exclusive samplers also fall under the guidelines specified above.
  • While for nationally distributed cigars, Cigar Coop does not require exclusivity, there are cases for shop exclusive cigars we may request exclusivity in exchange for press coverage. This is done on a case by case basis.
  • In cases where a formal press release is not provided, but shop exclusive coverage is requested, we will consider on a case by case basis based on a given set of expectations agreed to by Cigar Coop, the retailer, and the manufacturer.
  • Festival-exclusive releases will require press information for the complete slate of releases for the festival.  In other words, if you have a festival-exclusive release and there are other festival releases from other companies, we would expect the festival to work with us to provide us complete information on all of the festival releases.
  • Press information on a single store exclusive is not required for a cigar review, but in general single store release reviews will be limited in number throughout the year.