Antigua Esteli enters the Asian market. Last September, at the Intertabac trade show in Germany, Jeremy Tay from Puros Asia and Art Garcia met. They were introduced by a mutual friend. And after a lively conversation, Tay went home to Kuala Lumpur with a few samples.
Those samples impressed Tay so much, he decided to reach out to Art Garcia. And they quickly reached an agreement for distribution, starting in Malaysia with the potential to be distributed in several other Asian countries in the future.
Tay, who’s the co-owner of The Cabinet, a cigar lounge in Kuala Lumpur, is lacking boutique brands on the market in Malaysia. As the owner of a lounge, which was twice nominated as the best cigar lounge for Cigar Journal’s Cigar Trophy, he wants to offer his customers those boutique brands. None of the current distributors that are importing cigars into Malaysia can offer the brands he wants. So he decided to create his own import and distribution company, Puros Asia.
With Puros Asia he’s focussing on boutique brands, and introducing them to Asia. First in Malaysia, but he’s talking with distributors in other Asian countries as well. Tay’s idea is to set up a collaboration with local distributors who share the same passion for boutique brands as him. With a growing demand for premium handmade cigars in Asia, it’s the right time to introduce those brands. The market is growing, especially for new world cigars as there is a clear shift happening in the markets. Where Asia was always very Cuban minded, more cigar smokers are now open to smoke new world cigars. And a lot of the Asian cigar smokers convert to the cigars from Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Tay signed Jas Sum Kral, Dunbarton Tobacco and Crowned Heads so far, with Antigua Esteli as the fourth brand.