The Show

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The Show

A disclaimer to begin with. When I refer to “we” I am referring to us here at Stogie Review. We are not trying to speak for all cigar media outlets. We are just speaking for ourselves. We believe each cigar media outlet should be judged on their own individual merit, street cred and not be judged as a group.

Two years ago I penned an article, If We Don’t Go, They Win. That same year at IPCPR, I asked the manufacturers that we interviewed at the show The Blogger Question and so going into last year’s show, we felt good but we left last year’s show feeling otherwise.

Surely after 2-3 years of so much back and forth banter and conference calls you would think the issue(s) regarding new media at IPCPR would have been sorted out. It hasn’t and thats sad. We truly believe new media can benefit the IPCPR, its mission and its members if only they’d allow us to cover the show in a unique, creative, professional way. The same old complaints remain; we get in the way, we are pushy, IPCPR isn’t for us (even though we are considered equal to Associate Members and pay membership dues) and of course, the ever popular, we are all about the free samples. Trust me, some of us don’t have to leave our houses for free samples let alone spend a few thousand dollars, time off work, etc, to get them.

As you can tell by the tone of this article, for the first time in 8 years, Stogie Review will not be attending IPCPR this year. We are over all the drama. Every year we have conducted ourselves professionally and abided by the media guidelines IPCPR has laid out. We’ve spent the money, joined, sucked up the price increases with the hope that IPCPR would take notice, appreciate and embrace the diligent job we do. Sadly, that has not been the case. Someone asked me a few days ago, “what has IPCPR done for you besides take your money?” I didn’t have an answer and still don’t.


25 thoughts on “The Show

  1. Jerry…I for one am disappointed that IPCPR seems to be stuck in their old way of doing things. As a relatively new and young consumer of cigars, I have turned to bloggers for all of my cigar news, reviews and press releases. The old way of relying on B&M retailers to push out new products and pass along manufacturer updates is just that, old. The cigar industry is faced with the same problem plaguing several other industries that rely on discretionary spending by it’s aging consumers. This generation of baby boomers is getting old and dying off and no generation behind it has the same way of life, way of doing things and way of thinking that this outgoing generation has. The information coming from glossy magazines is tainted by the money of big manufacturers and their advertising dollars. The traditional tobacconist is going away and being replaced by younger less expensive help in your local B&M. While bloggers aren’t immune from the same pressures and temptations exerted by the manufacturers that glossy magazines and retailers see, the likelihood is much less that articles and reviews from bloggers are subject to bias and that’s why I turn to bloggers.

    1. “The traditional tobacconist is going away and being replaced by younger less expensive help in your local B&M.”

      I can’t tell how much I agree with this statement.

      1. Exactly. A couple weeks ago, my friend was informed by local B&M sales staff that Mr. Drew Estate himself would be in-house to rep his brand the following Friday. You know…Tatuaje Cigars. This lady was running a cigar shop and a.)thought “Drew Estate” was an actual person’s name, and b.)he repped for Tatuaje….and this is not especially uncommon.

  2. I thought I heard that they made some concessions so what happened last year to you guys didn’t happen again and you guys got early access?

    1. Not exactly. They won’t budge on access during setup because it is a liability issue. IPCPR did make a change to allow us to enter the show room floor an hour early the first day along with PAC donors BUT that really does us here at Stogie Review no good since the coverage is limited to only still photography i.e. no video.

      So while this “concession” benefits are friends at Halfwheel and other non-video sites, it does absolutely nothing for video centric sites like us and actually hurts our coverage since some of our most popular videos are our sneak peek videos that are shot during setup before the show floor opens.

      1. Yeah I can see how that early access concession is a benefit for other sites that don’t do video. I prefer video which is why I’m a fan of Stogie Review but I do checkout Halfwheel on occasion.

        Is it not possible for you guys to sign a waiver and waive any liability to IPCPR, convention center, etc,? I mean, I’m no legal eagle but that seems like an easy thing to do. I’ve seen your coverage, you guys never bother anyone in sneak peek videos, you don’t interview anyone who doesn’t want to be interviewed…I just don’t get it. Sorry Jerry and crew…I’ll miss the coverage but understand and support your decision not to go.

  3. This is what I’ve been saying since day one. IPCPR is about advertising product to retailers, period. Anything else has no place there, and they make no qualms about it, sort of. You can ask a person what they think of you, and it’s likely that they will tell you want you want to hear. The reality is, we (bloggers) don’t equal orders placed by retailers at IPCPR. Which is the whole reason they are there.

    Sure, bloggers can boost/hurt sales, to a degree. This is why we get samples and free smokes. But, if we all went away tomorrow, the cigar industry would be just fine. If it were determined that we couldn’t benefit them in the slightest bit, they would speak to none of us. IPCPR and everyone else. IPCPR’s actions prove this.

    We fit in at IPCPR as much as a kid who plays guitar in his room fits in at a NAAM show.

    BTW – this isn’t meant as a slam. I think the drama is lame too, and this is why I distance myself from it completely. Just do your thing, and have fun. That’s what this whole cigar blogging thing was founded upon.

    1. Never taken as a slam. I think new media does have a place at IPCPR. i don’t think the answer is “membership” but we have a place there and our value is further down the line, after IPCPR when the consumers who follow bloggers/new media walk into the show asking about and then buying a new release because of what they heard/read in our coverage.

      Your second paragraph is spot on.

  4. Good luck guys, I’ve chatted with Brian about this some and I know it was a tough decision to make. I hope IPCPR will take note of the frustrations. I know you guys do a lot of videos but wouldn’t it have still been a benefit to the site to go, take a lot of pics and get info, and get the videos when you could? I know you guys know a lot/most of the people in the industry and it seems like you still could have taken some great video, even if it wasn’t during the early-admittance period. Just seems a shame for one of the best cigar blogs to miss out on the biggest show of the year.

    1. It was a tough decision. Not everyone agreed on the decision but the majority of us felt it was not in our best interest to attend this year. If we are going to cover the show, we should cover the show to the standards we’ve set in previous years and I don’t think it would be possible to do that.

  5. I can sure understand why you guys don’t want to waste your time an money when IPCPR doesn’t see the value of your media coverage. Unfortunately, I think they are not going to blink an eye or give one shit about SR not being there. And maybe I’m too old- but I’m so over the “gotta know about the new stuff immediately”. I’m sure SR will let us know about the new stuff in a timely manner. Who cares if it’s not the day of release at the show?

    1. We have no illusions. We are pretty sure that IPCPR will neither notice this post nor our absence at the show. There are plenty off other sites, like our friends at Halfwheel who do a great job covering the industry all year around and I’m sure will provide the information people seek.

  6. My company would not exist if it were not for Stogie Review and a handful of other new media contributors.

    New media coverage of our activity at the show over the last few years has exponentially increased our market exposure to the most passionate and engaged consumers and interest from retailers, which is the primary purpose and mission of the trade show.

    The real issue is that many of the members of the established media, retailers, brands and manufacturers fear and resent the market disruption that new media has enabled. They strongly influence the rules and decisions that govern the treatment of the members of the new media. It’s an uphill battle, one very tough to bear given the voluntary and time consuming nature of what you do.

    I don’t think unilaterally surrendering the fight is the right decision, but I understand it. I’d encourage you to find an innovative way to provide alternative coverage and ensure that the quality content is still delivered to the people that support your site.

    1. Thanks Skip. This is by no means surrendering or giving up the fight. We are hopeful that the new CEO will take the time to engage us and understand our value to the industry.

      IPCPR was always convenient for us since every manufacturer is there. Instead of spending 2-3 days busting our butts for a handful of minutes with each, we will take the show on the road, get out there and visit manufacturers in their own environment.

    2. If it wasn’t for SR and Halwheel I’d never seek out Roma Craft and I am thankful for it because you guys are doing it right #weaselteam

      Keep up the great work Jerry and Skip

  7. Jerry & Crew I am sure this was not an easy decision and one I’m sure you gave a lot of thought to. It sucks that you guys are not going but it is understandable based on your experience/treatment last year.

    To be honest, as a long time visitor to Stogie Review, I have always enjoyed your IPCPR coverage. Like your video reviews and Week in Smoke they are always entertaining and informative. You guys do it the right way and should be treated as such.

  8. Well that blows! I’m sure there is another side to the story that maybe you aren’t telling us or that IPCPR isn’t telling you. Either way, I’m sure IPCPR won’t miss a beat and with the loyal following of SR Nation, Stogie Review won’t miss a beat either.

    Is this part of your new hippy meditation mantra? LOL


    1. Chris – there is a saying I’ve taken to heart about how anything you feed will grow. So I choose not to feed the negativity in my life. So I guess you are kind of right…except the hippie part. LOL

  9. Big fan here in Wichita and will miss the coverage of the show. You guys do it better than anyone! I can see both sides. I think IPCPR made a mistake offering you guys membership. However they would treat USA Today or the NY Times if they wanted to come and cover the show in some positive coverage is how they should treat you guys.

    I was talking to the owner of the shop I go to who is an IPCPR member and he’s not sure what the big fuss. You guys help everyone out, manufacturers, retailers, consumers. The least everyone in the industry can do is not bust your chops. I mean, if a manufacturer doesn’t want to talk you (why they wouldn’t is beyond me) then don’t or as my shop owner does, makes an appointment with a manufacturer to place his orders at a agreed upon date and time.

  10. Small shop owner here in TX and I would like to remain anonymous. I understand your frustration Jerry. I agree that in 2-3 years time a revamped media policy could have been put in place but in IPCPR’s defense they have been leaderless for awhile with just now hiring a new CEO. The old CEO was only there for a blink of an eye and lets face it. This industry in general is slow to adopt change. Most of the people you interact with are the new generation of cigar makers and brands and don’t wield the same amount of power and influence that the older generation has at IPCPR.

    Its the golden rule, whoever has the most gold, makes the rules and as much as you may feel IPCPR is enemy, its the manufacturers who are pulling the strings. Food for thought.

  11. It is disingenuous for manufacturers to gripe about samples or begrudge Internet media the chance to shine a light on new products at IPCPR. Being a relative newcomer to the world of cigars (one year and a half and counting), I come upon all the media coverage of cigars with a fresh take. I subscribe to Cigar Aficianado AND compulsively read the Internet blogs. I form my own conclusions, as all open minded, educated consumers should do. The idea that an event as large as IPCPR –that is ostensibly meant to present products that the consumer will want to buy –might not embrace the Internet bloggers (who so clearly support the manufacturers by providing daily exposure of their products) is anathema to the business itself. I buy my cigars to a large extent based on the reviews of blogs like stogiereview. That isn’t to say I always agree with their opinions, but that is the beauty of the blogs: there are multitude opinions. While I do understand the feelings of Mr. Cruz and stogiereview in not attending, I would also say that if stogiereview did decide to go then I think your readership would understand that it would be in spite of the nonsense, not catering to it, and with the support of your readers. Keep up the good work!

  12. I’m glad to see you speak out for the new youngster cigar lover. I hoped that there are no loggers showed up at the IPCPR. They don’t like the free loaders… Can you all take a hit…….

  13. Jerry:

    As a person that has worn many hats at the show for the past 10 years, I understand your frustration and I applaud you for taking a stand. Over the past several years, I have personally witnessed you and your crew tirelessly working the show floor in an effort to promote all brands. During that time, your crew has provided more in depth coverage of brands and the people behind them then any other publication (new or old). There is a value in that for the cigar industry and if IPCPR does not appreciate it, then they are clearly violating their mandate to promote the industry and its members.

    I wish that all new media journalists would band together and sit out this show. I believe that management at IPCPR would then understand the importance of sites like yours for this industry.

    best -FH

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