Nicaragua may take first place in 2012 for U.S. Imports

The Dominican Republic has dominated the U.S. as importers for “Premium Cigars” for almost as long as the Cuban embargo has been in place.  The numbers are in for this past year and it has held true again but the margin is getting closer and even closer for 2012, actually we could see a new leader soon.

In 2011 we saw 281 million Premium Cigars imported into the United States.  The good news is that it was a strong 7.7% increase over the 260.2 million reported in 2010. 

The breaks down of the top 3 countries look like this: 

Dominican Republic –     114,714,000 (41%)

Nicaragua –                         102,162,000 (37%)                           

Honduras-                             59,662,000 (21%)

In 2010 Dominican Republic controlled 43% and Nicaragua controlled just 33% making a 10% gap.   Last year the gap was just 4% and it appears there is a shift.   Early indicators show that it is possible for Nicaragua to take the top spot in 2012 if thing continue as they are. 

While cigars from Mexico, Jamaica, Columbia, Costa Rica, Brazil and Ecuador  offer smokes at a wide range of flavor to the cigar smokers, they are barely a blip on the screen with less than 1% collectively.   

What does that mean to the cigar smoker?  Some think the taste of the American cigar smoker has been changing.  Nicaraguan tobacco’s tends to be more full flavored in body and strength claims most manufactures and producers.   

What do you think?