The saga about Dunhill pipe tobaccos
( -or Fawlty Towers 2.0… )
Please do me a favour - when you read this, start humming the theme melody from the famous Fawlty Towers series with John Cleese.
Trust me, it will make sense when you are done.
As you might know it was announced three years ago that Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos no longer would be a part of the portfolio by BAT (British American Tobaccos). Now you will need to pay attention because a lot of different information will come your way. BAT owned the right to sell Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos but in fact it was the Danish company Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) who produced them for BAT. This was a significant constant order for STG, so my immediate thought was that STG would buy the brand.
Time went by and several companies were interested in the brand, but for reasons unknown to me nothing happened. My best guess is the price, and maybe they wanted a percentage of future sales and then I imagine the use of the Dunhill name was a tricky one. What is a new owner allowed to do? Complicated stuff!
What did happen was that the market went crazy and people bought Dunhill pipe tobaccos for cellaring. Big markets like USA and Germany went dry quite fast.
Funnily enough, Denmark still have some of the originals, but that is because we can’t export tobacco by law. Furthermore, innovative and ‘smart’ companies launched new lines with copies of Dunhill pipe tobaccos which had names and layout embarrassingly close to the originals.
I know at least two cases where this happened.
So, with nothing happening I could just watch how the stock slowly disappeared and we were preparing for a pipe life without Dunhill tobaccos. A big shame, I thought.
Now I need to jump to a different story, but I hope you will see the red line by the end. Last year (2018) it was announced that the proud Irish pipe factory, Peterson, was sold to an American company. Besides from their great pipes they had a significant line of pipe tobaccos with the Peterson name on. These tobaccos were produced (as far as I know) by three different companies for Peterson: Samuel Gawith, Mac Baren and yes, Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG).
So, at the same it was announced that the Peterson pipe making business was sold to the US, it was announced that the Peterson pipe tobaccos was sold to the STG. Unfortunately (for Denmark) STG quickly decided not to have Peterson pipe tobaccos on the Danish market.
Consequently, I was looking at losing about 30 items (Dunhill and Peterson pipe tobaccos). For a specialist shop this is the wrong development. Anyway, as a small player in the big market there was not much to do, so we adapted to the new situation.
So, with you still humming Fawlty Towers theme I will let you decide which company is Basil, Sybil, Polly and don’t forget Manuel.
I thank you for your attention and hope it gave you a better understanding of the ‘Saga about Dunhill pipe tobaccos’.
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This article was written in September 2019.