Balmoral to exit the American market. The rumor was going around for a week or two, but the news is official now. Scandinavian Tobacco, the new owner of Royal Agio Cigars, is pulling Balmoral and San Pedro de Macoris from the American market. Closing the Royal Agio distribution center in Duizel, The Netherlands isn’t good enough. Just when the Balmoral Añejo XO series gained traction in the United States, the brand gets killed. And the same goes for the budget series of San Pedro de Macoris.
The machine-made cigars from Royal Agio have been available in the United States for decades. But just a few years ago, Agio decided to move its handmade cigars to the United States too. Especially the new Balmoral Añejo lines, which are highly praised in Europe. At first, Royal Agio and Drew Estate partnered up for the distribution in the US. Which was a perfectly logical partnership as Royal Agio is the distributor for Drew Estate in several European countries. Two years ago, Royal Agio ventured out on its own in the United States. And with the decision of the Scandinavian Tobacco Group, that comes to an end effective immediately. As far as our information goes, everybody involved at Agio Cigars USA has been let go.
Royal Agio Cigars had several offerings in the United States. Some cigars are not even available outside of the United States yet. The offerings include the Balmoral Añejo XO series, which came in four different blends. The regular XO, Connecticut, Oscuro, and Nicaragua. Agio also collaborated with Ernesto Perez Carrillo and Litto Gomez for the Signatura series. With Perez-Carrillo, Agio made the Balmoral Dueto. The collaboration with La Flor Dominicana is called Balmoral Paso Doble.
San Pedro de Macoris
Three years ago, Royal Agio Cigars released the San Pedro de Macoris series. The Agio factory is located in San Pedro de Macoris and this blend was a tribute to the factory workers. Right now there are four blends on the market. The San Pedro de Macoris Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Sun-Grown. The factory will see changes as well. Currently, the factory produces both premium handmade cigars and machine-made cigars. But Scandinavian Tobacco Group is about to change that. The premium handmade cigar production will be relocated to one of the two factories of General Cigars in the Dominican Republic. The factory will be expanded and will only be used to make machine-made cigars.
The brands remain available for the international markets, but for how long is the question. And there are more questions to be answered. Which of the Royal Agio machine-made brands will survive the destruction of Scandinavian Tobacco Group? STG does not have a good track record when it comes to acquiring brands and building them up. Many brands acquired by STG have gone down in quality, sales, and availability. Other brands are just discontinued. The future for the Royal Agio brands looks grim. Hopefully, we are wrong, only time can tell.