Happy new year from Ministry of Cigars. Another year has passed, a year in which we saw a lot of new cigars on the market. And more focus on international markets, from both large companies and small boutique brands. We saw people come, we saw people go. And we expect that 2020 will be more of the same.
With several countries, such as Turkey and Singapore, implementing plain packaging this year we expect more and more useless regulation. The ban on smoking lounges in bars, hotels, and restaurants in The Netherlands will start to get enforced. It’s a wave of regulation that has been hitting the cigar industry like a tsunami. And we don’t think we’ve seen the end of it. Cigars are victims of the fight against cigarettes, and unfortunately, legislators can’t see the difference.
We feel that the average quality of cigars has been increasing in the last few years. Getting away with sub-par cigars for premium prices is getting harder and harder. And that’s a move in the right direction. More and more cigar smokers starting to understand that there are so many great cigars available for reasonable prices, that mediocre blends for premium prices are taking a hit. Of course, there will always be a market for budget cigars, but even in that category, quality seems to be on the rise.
The cigar industry also seems to become more of a global market. Smaller boutique brands are expanding their distribution into Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. Good news for cigar aficionados outside of the United States, as many great cigars are now available in their local markets. And those brands can compete head to head with Cuban cigars. And are winning, as New World cigar sales are increasing worldwide.
Ministry of Cigars
We promise to keep reviewing cigars this year. Later today we will publish our top 25 for 2019. And tomorrow we will publish our ‘bang for the buck’ list, where we list our top 25 based on score divided by the price. We have some nice reviews in the pipeline. Some rare cigars and a series of cigars made for Chinese New Year. This year it’s the Year of the Rat, and we will review as many Year of the Rat releases as possible.
We will also continue to bring news about the international markets. We have a few series scheduled about cigar charities, about cigar legends and much more. So keep visiting us in 2020 and stay up to date.