(Cigar Aficionado) Cuban cigar sales in the United States could reach between 70 and 90 million cigars a year if the 53-year-old trade embargo between the two nations is lifted, according to two executives of Habanos S.A., the Cuban tobacco monopoly.
The sales projection would represent a market share of between 25 to 30 percent of the U.S market, said Jorge Luis Fernandez Maique, the commercial vice president of Habanos S.A. His Spanish counterpart, Javier Terrés de Ercilla, the vice president of development of Habanos S.A., added that Habanos' long-term goal is to attain the same level of sales that it has in the rest of the world where, according to its own statistics, it maintains a 70 percent market share.
"But the consumer will be the final judge of that," said Fernandez Maique. Terrés added that it could take 10 to 15 years or more before the market for Cuban cigars in the U.S. attains the same level as in the rest of the world.
The announcement of projected U.S. sales came at the opening press conference of the Festival de Habanos 2015, the 17th year that the festival has been held in Havana, Cuba. The festival is expected to draw more than 1,650 participants from 61 countries and 220 accredited journalists from 25 nations. The five-day event features a trade fair with 67 exhibitors from seven countries, including Italy, Canada, Germany, Spain, Brazil, China and Cuba. (read full text)