Habanos festival hears of new cigars, increased sales

Cuba’s Habanos Festival began yesterday in Havana with the announcement that three new cigars were being added to the Cuban cigar portfolio – and sampled at the show, according to a Cigar Aficionado story.

The three new products are the Cohiba Pirámides Extra, a Romeo y Julieta Petit Churchill, and the Romeo y Julieta Churchill Reserva 2008.

Meanwhile, according to an Associated Press story relayed by the TMA, Ana Lopez, head of marketing at Habanos SA, the joint venture between the Cuban government and Altadis (Imperial Tobacco Group), told festival goers that Habanos’ cigar sales had totaled US$401 million last year, up nine per cent on those of 2010, despite the economic crisis in Europe.

Habanos Festival

Cuba's Habanos Festival in Havana

Lopez said sales had declined in 2008 and 2009, and were almost flat in 2010 due to the global economic recession.

The 50-year-old US trade embargo, she added, had cost the Cuban tobacco industry US$79 million in sales last year.

However, Javier Terres, vice president of product development at Habanos, said the company’s sales in other countries more or less compensated for the US embargo, with sales in China doubling during the past three years.

Terres said that though Europe remained the top market for Cuban brands such as Cohiba, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta, sales in Asian nations were growing rapidly.

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