Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S (STG) today announced that the company has formed The Forged Cigar Company, an independent national cigar distribution network, and will divide its portfolio of industry-leading brands between General Cigar Company (GCC), an STG subsidiary, and the newly-formed company.
Developed to deepen support for the brick and mortar channel, The Forged Cigar Company will serve as a stand-alone cigar distribution network with its own, initial team of 12 dedicated cigar sales professionals, bolstered by independent marketing and customized programming for its brands.
Régis Broersma, senior vice president of STG’s North American Branded and Rest of World division said, “When we announced last year our withdrawal from the annual PCA Show, we committed to investing funds back into the premium cigar category. Today, with The Forged Cigar Company, we are doing just that with a multimillion dollar investment in the brick and mortar channel. In having two separate sales companies, we will have more feet on the street to better serve the needs of STG’s retail partners, and the ability to be more agile in supporting our current and future brands.”
The Forged Cigar Company will also leverage relationships with its proprietary network of cigar factories to deliver product innovations that Broersma describes as “giving the retailer and consumer what they want, when they want it.”
The Forged Cigar Company’s initial portfolio will include a curated mix of established and cult brands such as Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Bolivar Cofradia, Diesel and Chillin’ Moose. Other manufacturers will be invited to join the Forged roster in the near future.
The Forged Cigar Company hits the streets February 1
Sean Hardiman, a cigar professional with more than 11 years in the premium cigar category in various roles with General Cigar and other cigar manufacturers, has been tapped to lead The Forged Cigar Company sales organization. His background includes roles in retail and sales management across several U.S. markets and he has throughout his career with General Cigar demonstrated an expertise in making brands a success in the competitive category.
“I’m excited to lead this independent network. My team and I will support each brand under the Forged umbrella with its own unique programming, created and executed in partnership with brick and mortar retailers, and we will focus on helping our retail partners grow their business,” said Sean Hardiman, national sales manager of The Forged Cigar Company.
Over the past several weeks, The Forged Cigar Company has recruited top-performing cigar salespeople from within the premium cigar industry, each with multiple years of experience and deep relationships with key retailers. Among the new recruits are Nate McIntyre (Springhill, TN); John Gallogly (North Kingstown, RI); Jim Murray (Reading, PA); Cameron Calhoun (Clairsville, PA); Jared Biocca (Somis, CA) and Dave Mealy (Tampa, FL).
Hardiman said, “The Forged team will be ready to hit the streets running on February 1st. We’re looking forward to making our mark on the premium cigar category and to partnering with our network of retailers across the U.S.”
General Cigar’s current sales force remains intact and will continue to support the company’s market-leading brands including Macanudo, CAO, Cohiba, Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey and others.
Additional details about The Forged Cigar Company, including information about transitioning brands from the General Cigar sales roster to The Forged Cigar Company portfolio will be communicated to the trade in the coming weeks.