Eddie Ortega: End to Cuban Ban Won't Matter for Brands
The effects of an end to the Cuban embargo are the subject of endless speculation in the cigar world. From smokers to company execs, it seems like everyone has an opinion on how much inventory would be available, product quality as Cuban factories rush to meet demand and how willing fans of non-Cuban brands would be to part with the sticks they have spent years enjoying.
One issue, the impact on brand ownership, doesn't get as much air time in cigar shop conversations, but it does come up – especially within the business. Eddie Ortega, the man behind the 601 line, among others, writes on his blog, "In recent years, the registered trademark owners in the USA of most Cuban brands have either been acquired or have merged with European companies who have worldwide distribution rights of most of the Cuban brands." Quite simply, the need to tangle over ownership rights may be settled already, because of European interaction with Cuba.
Gallery: Eddie Ortega at Pepin Garcia's Farm
And what of pre-ban cigars, i.e., those imported before the embargo? Well, Ortega observes that they are "extremely expensive and hard to come by, and may all just collectors' items that are not worth smoking due to their age." As long as there are collectors, there will be a market for old stuff (hell, just look at the art market).