Cigars make fantastic holiday gifts—but this year, we’re strongly suggesting that you do your shopping as early as possible. Why? Glad you asked. Below, we’ve outlined some of our big concerns with respect to ordering cigars and receiving them in a timely manner during the holiday season.
As you know, you can’t turn on the news these days without hearing constant chatter about supply chain interruptions in all sorts of industries. Cigars are definitely not immune to this!
Let’s take a quick look at a few of the most obvious factors playing into this very real concern.
1. The virus is still a live threat in a number of cigar making regions that don’t have as sophisticated a medical system as the U.S. Many of these regions still have safety protocols in place. Even those operating at full capacity have experience a shutdown period at some point during the pandemic.
2. Cigar demand is at a near record level. An estimated 400 million handmade cigars will have been shipped to the United States by the close of 2021. This represents a more than a 50 percent increase over pre-COVID numbers. Most manufacturers try to right-size their production, meaning that they purchase enough product and staff based on projected demand. But now that demand has jumped so significantly, box, band, and cigar facilities have kicked it into high gear and are running at their maximum output. Doubling output takes time, as materials have to be purchased and staff has to be brought in and trained. The demand for labor and materials is at an all-time high, and cigar companies are fighting to secure the assets they need to meet this unprecedented demand.
3. Cigars take time. A lot of time. Generally speaking, the materials (tobacco) that are used in the cigars we well today were planted some four to six years ago. Even after a cigar is made, it still needs an additional 90 to 120 days of post-roll aging before they can even be shipped. For these reasons, the cigar manufacturing industry can’t simply flip a switch and start magically producing more cigars.
4. One word: shipping. Issues with shipping, especially international shipping has been an issue that’s not industry specific. Getting cigars from Central America to the United States is taking much longer than usual—in our own experience, we’re seeing products taking two to three times longer to get through port and clear customs.
5. In addition to saving yourself the headache of not finding what you’re looking for, you’re also likely to save a chunk of change, too. Costs are on the rise, and at some point in the near future this will be reflected on the retail price of the cigars you order.
With humidification technology making it super convenient to keep cigars fresh for six months or more, we recommend you buy your cigars early. Bearing all of these factors in mind, don’t hesitate. Get your orders in ahead of everyone else while there’s still time for them to arrive! As always, let us know how we can help you find and secure the perfect gift that’s just in time for the holiday celebrations. Need recommendations or advice? That is what we are here for. Do not hesitate to reach out. There are no stupid questions!