H SA take notice!


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Perhaps some of you just happen by and peruse this board. I know, why would you, the site is for cigar enthusiasts, not disconnected schmucks, goose-stepping in a circle?

I am still here, there are a lot of old faithful members lingering around waiting for you to actually find a flashlight and stagger onto a traditional path. I guess without the expatriated cigar owners you guys are a bit lost now that they are in the industry again. Yeah, I noticed it. With that said, have you noticed a little about what is going on here at FoH? I seem to have noticed that the site has taken a bit of a turn and lot more non-Cuban cigars are being discussed. Why do you think that is?

Don't answer, it must be because they make 60 ring cigars and you don't. Why don't you just follow along instead of leading us, the loyal folks that are already customers in a different direction? I think the expatriates would love to see you follow along. They will just switch up and start pushing thin rings right about the time you blow out all your traditional customers. Oh, that would include me too!

Read over the daily smoke thread. There are a lot of non-Cuban cigars being talked about over here at Friends of Habanos. Someone suggested the place be renamed Friends of Cigars. I mean how often do you want to post about the fact that you smoked a PSD4...?

Ever get the feeling that you are being replaced? I do. Kinda' nice if people were posting about ERdM PC's... but you don't make them anymore. I know I don't really post much about Partagas Coronas, Partagas lonsdales, Bolivar lonsdales, or Ramon Allones Coronas.... why should I, you just can't get them anymore? Ever thought about a real push on 42 ring cigars? I mean why would you? They taste great but you can't stuff them with a bunch of worthless, tasteless filler and charge what you get for a robusto. Ever think about selling some of these PC's at $75 bucks a box retail? Probably not. Don't tell me... there is a labor shortage over there!!!-LOL At 3 cents a piece wholesale there is just no money in selling them at $75 bucks retail a box! Yes... that goes against the whole cigar elitist image that you are trying to create. Funny how you guys over there in your classless dystopia are always working to separate the rest of us into classes! Is the proletariat not worthy of a good cigar that they can afford; aye comrade???

You know maybe I might have to go out and try some of these cigars not made on Isla Cuba. Perhpas if I buy them they may pay attention to my likes; they might want my money going forward.

Friends of Cigars... got a ring to it you gotta' admit it. How about Friends of Fuente? -the Pig

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Ray - you know I am with you, brother. Wait until you hear of the cigars I got in my port visit to Palma - I think you will approve.

If I could find any of the Partagas Lonnys, ERDM Coronas, Partagas Coronas, RA Coronas.....you know I'd be buyin' them.

I won't say too much more because I already have a post drafted along these lines that I need the time to post....It's a little busy out here!

PS - Answers to your questions in my journal are coming via email!

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Piggy, as always, thanks for saying what you think. If they were smart, they'd bring you on as a consultant at HSA to help them reconnect with their greatest asset, the traditional real cigar.

Mate they don't wanna' hear what I have to say, much less pay for it. While I don't want this to get too political, my first suggestion would be to scrap the government, reestablish factory designation for cigars, sign boxes, create competitive rolling teams with profit sharing and insist on competitive team inspection and tasting...

... I could go on, but I am off the clock! Thanks for the encouragement. -Piggy

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Mate they don't wanna' hear what I have to say, much less pay for it. While I don't want this to get too political, my first suggestion would be to scrap the government, reestablish factory designation for cigars, sign boxes, create competitive rolling teams with profit sharing and insist on competitive team inspection and tasting...

... I could go on, but I am off the clock! Thanks for the encouragement. -Piggy

They'd want to pay you in Cuban pesos, anyway, so it's probably just as well.

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Mate they don't wanna' hear what I have to say, much less pay for it. While I don't want this to get too political, my first suggestion would be to scrap the government, reestablish factory designation for cigars, sign boxes, create competitive rolling teams with profit sharing and insist on competitive team inspection and tasting...

... I could go on, but I am off the clock! Thanks for the encouragement. -Piggy

Hello Piggy and FOHer's,

Add me to the count as well. I really like your suggestions here! I do think time will correct all of this. The only problem is that by the time it has been corrected, I'll be part of the ferilizer.

Thank you for sharing,

Curtiss

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Nicely done Piggy. If only they really would take notice.

I don't mind seeing the new stuff introduced, but if it's at the expense of established

(and good) marcas/vitolas, then that's too high a price to pay. No need to fix what isn't broken...

Keep fighting the good fight.

Joe

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Hey all ad my name to this, and I am going to add my own point of view to this to. What I don’t understand is yes these 60 rg monsters are in fashion atm the moment, but why fundamentally weaken a line as I don’t see the non-Cuban producers doing it yes they have the monsters but they are also keeping there long and skinnies in production for the most part. As because I think they realize the trend will change and a few years down the line long and thin may be back in vogue. Meanwhile habanos continue to weaken its lines trough deletions, of course I can understand some rationalization of lines were u may multiple vitolas the same size. But why not taking the recent bce deletion into mind delete the bolivar no1 tubo and replace it with a bce tubo? as then you have a rationalization of the line but the retention of the superior blend.

However I am going to disagree slightly on the les as I think they could help the lovers of long and skinnies to an extent as if there is a long and skinny le why not purchase it to prove people will buy these cigars ? however I fully agree the numbers of les and res needs to be cut, id rather see partagas coronas ra 898 partagas sd1,2,3, under a limited production every couple of years than most of the le’s.

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I agree. While I also enjoy a larger ring gauge cigar (50 ish is quite large enough) I enjoy long and akinnies and lament legacy vitolas that don't exist anymore or soon won't exist. I am happy to report that in my shop (which I am not promoting herein), we sell more PC's then we sell anything else and with rare exception we don't sell EL's. The only RE on the shelves are the edmundo dantes Mexico RE.

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This rant comes a bit late. How many of you gentlemen were regular buyers of Punch SS1 & SS2, Partagas lonsdales and Serie du Connaisseur, RG Slenderellas, RA 898, etc. when they were still available?

As for the political aspect, don't forget that "they" were able to produce excellent cigars at the time they were more communist (if that makes sense) than they are now…

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Well done, Ray!

Noting the fact that HSA is getting itself yo-yo'd by the NC marketing departments is most trenchant. The additional observation that fatties may well be loaded with cheap filler is a profundity that knocked me down. Thinking of those $60/stick Behikes stuffed with beetlicious JLP filler was almost dizzying.

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An interesting turn of thought would be to think how would Habanos operate if the tables were turned and they were a (For the sake of argument) taken over by a US based (Western capitalist) multinational.

Would anyone be surprised if they deleted everything overnight which wasn't making a good profit? I can't see how historic value would get in the fact of pure profits. Legacy I don't think would be considered. Look at recent buy outs of small companies that ran with a reasonably successful turnover based on tradition, case in point recently a well known UK chocolate firm was bought out by a huge multinational confectionary giant amid a lot of public concern that less profitable lines of chocolate would be deleted and workers laid off in favour of cheaper oversees labour. Keep in mind this is a historic and much loved national brand. Promises were made by the buying company that tradition would be respected and jobs wouldn't be lost, produce would stay at the same high level of quality etc etc..

Not two years have passed since the buy out and factories have closed down, labour has shifted to cheaper nations, the quality of ingredients have noticably changed (for the worse), the size of chocolate bars have shrunk while prices have risen and old favourite chocolates are in the process/have been 'modernised'. The same thing has happened here with small breweries and the result has been loss of much loved traditional ales and the introduction of new lines that taste foul, are overpriced and the original customer base has to move on to less liked beers or just stop drinking. When breweries realise the mistake they have made they go back and try to recreate the old ales but they never manage to get them how they were; the skills have gone and the human essence of what went into making the ales can't be found again.

I wouldn't be so hasty in wishing for something else, sometimes it's better with the devil you know. Especially when the devil you know has in the past and present been able to have some excellent success.

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I hear you, Pigster. But in my heart of hearts, it feels like the ship has sailed and this is just pissing into the wind. Rage on against the dying of the light. At this point, what else is there to do? The last decade has been a time of transition. The ship that is HSA seeking a new star to sail by. And now, it's apparent that it is adopting the way of the other occidental cigar trades. Yes, the American cigar industry's way of proliferation against purity. The way of commercialism against traditionalism. And if they hadn't, would there even be Cuban cigars today? And if they hadn't would they be satisfied, those new to Havana receiving the baton from the stalwarts of another age?

Smallclub's commentary is a telling one. Why were we not sufficiently supportive of those things which we now bemoan their passing? Perhaps their passing was evolutionary selection at play? Still, their progeny need not be those 60 ring behemoths we reflexively despise. But if not these, then what other viable kinds?

Wilkey

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I hear you, Pigster. But in my heart of hearts, it feels like the ship has sailed and this is just pissing into the wind. Rage on against the dying of the light. At this point, what else is there to do? The last decade has been a time of transition. The ship that is HSA seeking a new star to sail by. And now, it's apparent that it is adopting the way of the other occidental cigar trades. Yes, the American cigar industry's way of proliferation against purity. The way of commercialism against traditionalism. And if they hadn't, would there even be Cuban cigars today? And if they hadn't would they be satisfied, those new to Havana receiving the baton from the stalwarts of another age?

Smallclub's commentary is a telling one. Why were we not sufficiently supportive of those things which we now bemoan their passing? Perhaps their passing was evolutionary selection at play? Still, their progeny need not be those 60 ring behemoths we reflexively despise. But if not these, then what other viable kinds?

Wilkey

I don't see it this way my friend. Many of our mutual friends and I have long sought the obscure and unique Cuban cigars. As for me you know I practice what I preach and have been practicing and preaching the same melody for many years now. Many here have not had the opportunity to explore the cigars you and I have; it is not their fault. Many of us have supported many Cuban cigar products in many sizes. It is not our fault either. The fault lies in those that do not understand the depth and breadth of their own product line. As a result they mismanage it. The problem lies with the systematic promotion of the leaders of failure, promoting further and future failure. Failure rooted in and as old as tyranny that promotes itself.

The systematic apology for failure, the sycophancy of this, an obsolete system of political nepotism is part of problem, but the loyal customer is not to blame. When one encounters a bad non-Cuban cigar it is labeled simply as a lousy cigar. When one encounters a bad Cuban cigar it is in a sick period!!! I have never seen nor heard of a greater fraud surrounding another product from another country. If one were to suggest this of a new product today, one would be laughed at and dismissed as a charlatan.

The fault lies with those who promote and apologize for failure. The fault lies with sycophancy of those who simply will not hold Cuba responsible for anything, including the second rate products that it sometimes produces. Some do it for profit. Others out of ignorance. And some, simply to promote the utopian fallacy that is Cuba.

Best mate, Ray

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(snip)

When one encounters a bad non-Cuban cigar it is labeled simply as a lousy cigar. When one encounters a bad Cuban cigar it is in a sick period!!! I have never seen nor heard of a greater fraud surrounding another product from another country.

(snip)

Yes. I've often thought the same thing.

Similarly, a bad Cuban cigar often brings the question (or accusation), "Maybe it's fake."

Rarely does anyone suggest that about a bad non-Cuban cigar although they are certainly counterfeited.

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This is a thought provoking thread. Thanks, Piggy.

Here are a few more thoughts (half-baked though they may be) and observations:

I did notice, Piggy, that more non-Cuban cigars are being listed on the daily smoke thread compared to when the thread first started. It’s interesting. I don’t quite know what to make of it. I kinda think it has something to do with newer (and maybe younger?) members sharing with the community what they’re smoking. I don’t see it as a mandate against Cuban cigars. I do see it as a credit to this board that members feel comfortable enough to comment on whatever it is they’re smoking. Maybe those members who are posting about non-Cuban cigars are in a transition phase to smoking more Cuban cigars. Maybe not. Who knows? Also, I’ll bet that some of our most distinguished, articulate, knowledgeable members smoke, from time-to-time, a Dominican or Nicaraguan cigar. They just don’t post about it.

We talk about “core customers” as if we know who they are and how many there are.

Do we really know this? While I suspect that core customers must be more than just those of us who regularly frequent cigar forums it might not matter. My point is that maybe HSA can afford to loose core customers because the loss is offset by gaining new customers who may be attracted by the marketing buzz, if not the actual product, of ELs and REs. Some of them will turn into new core customers. I agree with those who say the EL and RE programs have become diluted and often (but not always) send disappointing products to the market. Maybe for H SA these programs serve more than one purpose.

Many Non-Cuban brands already include long skinnies in their range of products and have for sometime. Why come down on non-Cuban cigar companies because they have fat cigars in their line-up? For the record, personally I don’t care for fat cigars but other people like them and buy them. So what?

Do we know how H SA sees itself? Do they see their position and their strategies as successful? Or are they sitting around a table somewhere in Cuba, wringing their hands, saying, “Oh, we’re such failures.”? I’m familiar with a particular consumer products company. Last year they had new products launch late, They cancelled launches (and lost projected income) because the product did not meet one or another benchmark. They launched products that did not sell and are now sitting in a warehouse somewhere waiting for disposal. All this and still the company is successful. And sees itself as successful. What’s the case with H SA?

All-in-all, despite this or that cigar deletion, I think it’s a great time to be a cigar smoker. It’s a dynamic, changing, interesting, sometimes puzzling, sometimes frustrating world. Even though I just smoked my last Rafael Gonzalez Coronas Extra, I’m happy to be a part of it.

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While some of what I post is speculation, that is easy to see, we do know some facts. I won't reiterate too many of my rants about the government... -LOL

Habanos as a company and a brand is in decline. The causes could be many, or simply just one. The cause could be the market in general, but that again allows those that are responsible for running the company off the hook. Cigars have been cut from the historical line up for decades, creative distruction, as suggested is simply a means to address the market. When is it no longer the market? When is it simply because the folks at the helm have no clue?

A sacrifice of customers? Why would one sacrifice customers when warehouses are full, labor is plentiful and there is demand? This is a known to us. There is no critical competition for material and labor in this case. There is no reason for this move, not when the faithful would likely buy more cigars in this economy if they were only available and reasonably priced.

We know sales are down, for numerous reasons. We know that the costs are largely fixed due to the type of labor available on the island. We know that the mindset of management is unwavering. We know that cigars like the PLPC, also once axed is now a success again. We know from personal contacts that certain cigars have a market presence, albeit small numbers compared to the most popular cigars. We know that H SA will not reduce prices to move product, they will not expand in an inclusive fashion and the cigars that they do produce as new are not what they are hyped to be typically. We know that they take what should be good ideas, and run them into the ground by running late, over production and shoddy workmanship.

We also know that by the direct action of those in charge at Cubatabac et al, they are shrinking their workforce due to incompetence and as a result offshoring their jobs. Since reduction of retail price to stimulate sales is not done, we can accuse them of losing these jobs due to greed!!! Let me explain this a bit.

As the Cubans lose market share, the jobs that were traditional Cuban jobs go to those of other countries. We know this as a fact. The cigar market is no longer a Cuban monopoly... it is a world market now. Every wrong decision then, is in fact a means by which to strengthen one's competition and lose market share.

What do you think it costs, wholesale labor and material for a Cuban cigar? Not much I would wager. Bringing back traditional sizes, pricing them at price points that would encourage new customers and old ones to restock them would be profitable. It would keep the rollers rolling and move tobacco. The dogmatic mindset of the executive that has no free market experience, the one that was promoted because he/she was the next loyalist in line, is incapable of making this choice. He/she is unaware of such a move as a motivating factor to stimulate sales. Likely because he has never been in the position to have what the world calls disposable income! He is unwilling, or simply too frightened to lose a position to go against the centralized prevailing wisdom. This is not leadership. This is the fault of central planning, poor central planning at that, and the real reason Cuba is in the state that it is.

Tell me folks. Would you be trying PCs, Coronas and Londales at $75, 100, and $125 retail? Damn right you would! Instead the dogmatic following of a failed economic system, the one where you get one loaf of bread and a block of yellow cheese courtesy of the State is being followed... I repeat, this is a leadership problem! This is the result of telling people in your university that capitalism is evil and a failure of mankind. Follow, obey, serve, don't question the state. This is the leadership that you get when you teach this to your people.

Every time the dogmatic approach is followed, one that has clearly not saved the company the last decade, more Cuban jobs are moved from Cuba to a different cigar company; one of a Cuban competitor. Adjusting pricing is marketing!!!! It works everywhere else in the world. We all have to make things cheaper or more efficiently to encourage more people to buy the products we sell. This is marketing 101 my friends. When your labor is akin to slave labor and the product is made of weeds... can't you look past your dogmatic central planning approach long enough to save some of the jobs of your own people??? Are they that greedy or simply that ignorant?

In the free market, most fear third world market labor. It is why I think it has taken this long to compete with Cuban tobacco in the first place. No one can compete with 1 peso a day labor exempt another who pays workers 1 peso a day! The Cubans are in possession of such a labor force. They have given their market away. They have given their jobs away to other countries. They have offshored their own work by incompetence and it may very well be the result of being greedy.

The Cuban job market or ones like it, is where many capitalist look to find the labor to produce their products cheaper. This money brings these economies to life and raises their life styles and quality of life. The Cuban government has this power now. This is the dream workforce of the evil capitalist entrepreneur... and they are clueless as to how to utilize it, and they, the Cuban people suffer for it.

Why is it when a corporation moves offshore due to reasons of profit they are evil and when the Cuban government moves its workforce offshore, for the same reasons, the dogmatic approach of price fixing an almost worthless commodity, are they not treated the same way? Prices of Cuban cigars could be drastically slashed to stimulate sales. They could put the NC manufacturers out of business if they really wanted to due solely to wholesale labor prices and they are too damn stupid to do it.

The details are in how you perceive them my friends. I am tired of those who simply want to blame anyone and anything non-Cuban for the woes of the Cuban people. I provide evedence here everyday to the contrary. What you choose to believe is up to you!

-the Pig

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