The saga about Dunhill pipe tobaccos

The saga about Dunhill pipe tobaccos - The Danish Pipe Shop

( -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.

Fast forward to this summer (2019) I suddenly get a press announcement from the STG. They announce that they have bought the Dunhill Pipe Tobacco brand. The information was limited, so it was a little hard to know what it meant. Nevertheless, I was glad about the news because the STG is making the Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos very well, so for me this is the right fallout. But strategical I thought it was a strange progress during the three years. I mean, the shelf space is gone in most countries – and in this context shelf space is both the physical space a brand takes in a physical shop as well as the virtual shelf space at the online shops. Shelf space is crucial for the tobacco brands for obvious reasons, when it is almost impossible to do marketing of tobacco related products due to legal restrictions in almost any country.
So, in August 2019 we hear about some of things that the STG is planning: Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos will no longer be called Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos but…Peterson pipe tobaccos. What we do know is that six of the Dunhill Pipe Tobaccos will be relaunched as Peterson Nightcap, Peterson Early Morning, Peterson Mixture 965, Peterson Royal Yacht, Peterson Elizabethan and Peterson Standard Mixture. At present moment I dont know what will happen to the rest of the old Dunhill brands.

From my perspective this is a very strange development and that is why I call it Fawlty Towers version 2.0. Nevertheless, I am excited to see how the customers react, and this is also one of the reasons I decided to write about this. For me it is important that the customers know that the Peterson ‘Dunhill’ tobaccos are the real deal – the STG knows how to make them. I fear that customers who don’t know the background story will think that the STG are making a knockoff like the two cases I mentioned earlier.

There might be a lot of details unknown to me that might shine some light on why it took so long – and why they only use the recipes and product names and not the brand?

Honestly, I can’t figure out who is the winners and losers. Right now, it looks like we have lost the wide selection (18 Dunhill pipe tobaccos), but 6 is better than zero. A winner also might be the American company who bought the Peterson pipe brand. For them this is excellent. The STG is a giant company with lots of sales representatives, so a strong presence of Peterson pipe tobacco could rub off on the sale of the Peterson pipes. With all this in mind, it is kind of interesting that the STG owns Stanwell pipes and naturally compete worldwide with Peterson Pipes. With that said STG is a giant, and they have many talented people working for them, so I am sure they have their reasons and if I ever get more information I will let you know.

However, we look forward to the ‘new’ Peterson pipe tobaccos. At present moment we don’t know when they will be available, but I am guessing in the end of this year or beginning of 2020.

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’.

Feel free to login and write comments!±

This article was written in September 2019.

The saga about Dunhill pipe tobaccos - The Danish Pipe Shop

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