Cuban Cigars: The Forbidden Fruit of the USA
Cuban Cigars (as well as most Cuban products) have been banned from the United States since 1960. As a result, the premium handmade cigars that are available legally in the U.S. are manufactured in countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.
Though Cuban cigars typically rank well internationally, many of the cigars that are available in the United States do rank equally or outrank Cuban cigars in terms of overall quality, so if the embargo were to be lifted tomorrow it would be akin to just having a new luxury line of cigars introduced to an already overflowing market. However this does not nullify the “forbidden fruit” effect. If 1/3 of a billion people(U.S. citizens) were forbidden from buying Cuban cigars for generations and then suddenly were allowed to, there would most likely be a huge surge of Cuban cigar purchases initially.
For the vast majority of people that read this blog, if the opportunity arose for you to purchase Cuban Cigars legally in the United States the chances are high that you would have a humidor fully tasked to exclusively storing large numbers of Cuban Cigars.
The long-standing ban on Cuban products has been a windfall for the Canadians. In 1997 it was reported that Cigar Bars in Canada sell more cigars to Americans than anyone else.
Albert Ruzich, a manager at Canadian Cigar Shop Vasco’s, wasn’t complaining about the U.S. law.
“Once in a while, customers mention that they would like the embargo to be over,” Ruzich said.
“But we don’t. It’s too good for our business.”
The question is should the embargo continue? The Majority of Americans believe that Cuba isn’t a threat to the United States and the embargo should end.
Sure there are issues that have to resolved, such as Cubans seizing property in when their revolution took place and trademark disputes for competing cigar brands. However the end result is that most likely there is money to be made in and from Cuba should the embargo be removed not just for cigars, but tourism, building of hotels and infrastructure, cars, etc. The average Cuban car is literally a US-made vehicle from the 1950’s, allowing for a large untapped market for US car Manufacturing to sell to.
For individuals that enjoy cigars however, it would mean new brands and new cigars that have not legally touched US shores for decades. Of course there are countless other factors to consider, such as the potential impact on sales of non-Cuban brands, and the dilemma of the FDA’s yet-undetermined cigar regulations.
For the record, the chances are low that this will happen anytime soon.