Habanos S.A. or not Habanos S.A. - is there even a question?
By David, on 27/09/2011 16:20
I am sure you have noticed the recent increase of Cuban cigar sites claiming to be based in and shipping out of the Swiss Free Zone and yet, have their Sales or Administrative offices in another country. You must be wondering how big the Free Zone is here in Geneva with all the new sites that keep popping up every day. Believe me, I am the most surprised and the most frustrated by this worrying trend. What these new sites are not saying or omitting to say, is where and how they get their supply of Cuban cigars. Let us remember a very simple fact. Habanos S.A. distribute their cigars onto the world market through regional Importers. These Importers are contracted to distribute locally. Every region of the world has an Official Importer (the most recognizable being InterTabak (Switzerland), Altadis S.A. (Spain & France), Hunters & Frankau (UK) or Havana House (Canada), see Habanos S.A. site for full list of world Importers). A cigar merchant who is an official Habanos S.A. retailer is obliged to get their Cuban cigars supplied through these Official Regional Habanos S.A. Importers. This is regulated by a very simple factor, the cigar merchant must be located in the country where they are supplied (not in a free zone, as these areas are not and cannot by supplied by the Regional Importers). Any sites claiming to be based in the free zone of a country in not being supplied by a Habanos S.A. Regional Importer. This naturally begs the question; where are these cigars coming from? I mention all this as recently I have had a number of new Members asking me why we are so much more expensive that other sites based in Switzerland. I turn the question around, how do these new sites who claim to be in Switzerland, sell their cigars so much cheaper than all the established Swiss Official Habanos S.A. sites and more worryingly, why do these new sites claim to be Official Habanos S.A. retailers, when clearly they cannot be? originally posted Oct 2008