Today, Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) announced the formation of The Forged Cigar Company. It will be an independent national cigar distribution network, and will divide its portfolio of brands between General Cigar Company (GCC), a subsidiary of STG, and the newly-formed company.
In the press release, STG says the new company was developed to deepen support for the brick and mortar channel and will serve as a stand-alone distribution network, initially with its own team of 12 dedicated cigar sales professionals, and independent marketing with customized programming for their 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, described by Broersma 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 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, 2021.
Sean Hardiman, a cigar professional with more than 11 years in the premium cigar category will lead The Forged Cigar Company sales organization. His background includes roles in retail and sales management across several U.S. markets. “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.
The Forged Cigar Company has, in recent weeks, recruited cigar salespeople from within the premium cigar industry, each with multiple years of experience and 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 established brands including Macanudo, CAO, Cohiba, Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey and others.