Cigar News: IPCPR Upgrades More Than 86-Year-Old Moniker
Well, cats out of the bag now. It was officially announced at this year’s IPCPR conference and trade show that the 86-year old tobacco advocate would be rebranding its title and logo to Premium Cigar Association. Leaks of the news appeared weeks before the conference along with industry speculation that changes were coming. So, there was little surprise on behalf of the almost 5,000 in attendance over the 3-day event. There is thoughtful symbolism in the new logo: the green segments of the leaf represent fields of tobacco and the cigar factories, the browns highlight the cured tobaccos and the grays represent the cigar’s ash.
What WAS surprising to most, including many industry icons, was the extent of the changes and more importantly, the fact that so few of them were included in a consensus of any kind or even part of any discussions in the days leading up to the show. This pushed some to air their grievances with the organization during and after several presentations.
In his presentation, PCA Ececutive Director, Scott Pearce, outlined the new vision of PCA to include a number of updates along with many upgrades. With a focus only on cigars, the most obvious change is the omission of pipe tobacco retailers in the new name. Naturally, this has generated some consternation among this particular constituency. In his talk, Pearce partially addressed this as a response to a rapidly morphing political and regulatory environment where the biggest threat is to premium cigars.
Pearce also recognized that a modernization of the brand was needed along with a focus on the future. He also stressed the need to be more proactive in order to better serve and provide more effective value to its members and the industry. Two of its largest projects include launching the PCA Foundation for Research and Education (August 2019) and an online learning platform (2020). The PCA Foundation will focus on collecting data that serves innovation, advocacy and business.
PCA will also be launching a new publication called PCA: The Magazine in the near future and in order to boost attendance and help bring a more intimate awareness to the business, PCA will be adding an extra day to its conference and trade show schedule. Dubbed CigarCon, this day will be reserved for consumers – a first in the history of the trade show’s existence. The tepid response to the CigarCon addition by industry insiders was palpable, but many producers, retailers and others see the benefit of the additional exposure.
Other smaller changes and adjustments to the trade show are also in the works as PCA strives to increase attendance, participation and provide more effective environments to assist many in the cigar industry, regardless of their business focus, in growing their businesses. PCA’s new website will be launching in the next few months. – In Fumo Pax!