Between its acquisition of the entire Peterson pipe tobacco portfolio in July 2018 and the reintroduction of the old Dunhill blends under the Peterson brand umbrella, STG-Lane Ltd. is showing that, despite the challenges facing the premium pipe tobacco market, the category still matters to the company.
“Consumers were legitimately on the brink of losing some of the most iconic blends that this business has ever known,” Wortzel explains. “The consumer passion for these blends has been unbelievable. One customer called me every couple of weeks begging me to assure him that Nightcap wouldn’t go away forever. There is some solace for consumers that we are invested in the market. In spite of all these industry shakeups, there are still some companies with the passion for the market to ensure that some of these iconic brands and blends don’t disappear forever. This business still matters a great deal to us, and we’ve been able to jump through the hoops to ensure that these blends are still available for consumers to enjoy.”
While pipe tobacco sales continue a slow decline on the mass market side, Wortzel reports that sales of premium pipe tobaccos in premium tobacco shops are holding steady and that there may well be more premium pipe tobacco consumers today than there were 15 years ago. These new pipe tobacco consumers are willing to experience different blends than their predecessors, who were likely to be loyal to one brand. They’re also not quite as price conscious as pipe smokers have typically been in the past.
“It would not surprise me that retailers who are committed to the pipe side are seeing a growth in their pipe tobacco business because there are new pipe smokers continually coming into this category,” Wortzel concludes. “They’re not smoking the same volume that the old-timers were, but they are coming into the category, and they’re into the premium side of it. The new enthusiasts like to try other tobaccos and experiment with different blends. Blends like Nightcap, Early Morning Pipe and the others fit really nicely into that demographic.”
With STG acquiring Peterson and now relaunching the old Dunhill blends under the Peterson brand, those inquisitive pipe smokers will have even more choices to explore and more reasons to visit their local tobacconist.
This story first appeared in the November /December 2019 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to our magazine. Click here for details.
– Story by Stephen A. Ross, editor-in-chief of Tobacco Business Magazine.