2023 PCA Recap

Nate Simonds

2023 marks the third year that I have attended the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) trade show and it is one of my favorite times of the year. I have a love/hate relationship with Vegas as it has always been a work town for me (for those that don’t know I was in the trade show industry before working for Renegade), but I always have a blast while I am there. As much as I like the trade show floor, our goal is always to get in and get out as quickly as possible. This year is the most prepared for PCA as I have been, having all orders for all appointments written up already along with a guide on what Brandon and I needed to check out and when.. That being said, here are some impressions from the show:

Booths were bigger and more impressive - Brandon has talked about how much bigger the booths were prior to Covid. This year there are several booths that were bigger than I remembered last year. People spent much more money on their booths than in years past and it showed.

Floor Traffic was a mixed bag - while I wasn’t blown away by the crowd waiting at open, booths seemed busy and nobody was complaining about traffic. I’m sure this won’t be the busiest PCA ever but I don’t think people will be writing articles about lack of traffic either.

Plenty of new releases (and samples!) - This is the most new cigar releases that I can remember being offered to date. One example - Kristoff - who announced 3 new regular production cigars at the show. While PCA is always ripe with new cigars, the amount of new cigars seemed higher than normal. Manufacturers also seemed more generous with samples this year than the past two years.

Price points are splitting - Last year we talked about the average price of cigar rising. For regular production releases I didn’t notice that as much this year. However, there are plenty of high dollar price point special releases coming. It seems that manufacturers are trying to please both everyday smokers and high price point collectors.  

No new brands coming to Renegade… Yet - While Brandon and I engaged with a few manufacturers that we do not currently do business with, we didn’t pull the trigger on bringing any new brands into the humidor on the show floor. We have some samples to try and will be continuing some conversations as the year goes on but as of right now you won’t be seeing any new brands in the near future.

Brandon presented at the retailer roundtable - Like other trade shows, there are several events that take place off the show floor at PCA. Brandon was invited to be one of four retailers speaking at an educational seminar for attendees to discuss ways retailers can level up their business. I think he did a great job and brought a unique perspective to the conversation.

Consumers on the show floor - While PCA floated the idea of having a consumer day, the show remains an industry show and bringing consumers is heavily frowned upon. Several of our reps complained about the number of consumers that had tagged along with retailers. It definitely needs to be addressed, but honestly, I’m not sure how PCA can address this other than not allowing those retailers back.

Overall, Brandon and I are in agreement that it was our best trip to Vegas in recent years. PCA 2023 was a strong showing for the industry that showed positive momentum. It was also the most amount of cigars that we have purchased since I have been with Renegade. Scott, Dan and I will have some work to do in order to make everything fit in the humidor. Keep an eye out for the new cigars coming to the humidor, you will definitely want to check them out!

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