Tobacco manufacturer enters little cigar market in a big way
Posted by Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor -- Packaging Digest, 5/15/2013 5:45:40 PM
As part of the American tobacco farming industry for over 100 years, S&M Brands Inc., one of Virginia's largest independent tobacco growers and manufacturing companies and makers of Bailey's, Tahoe and Riverside cigarettes, has expanded into the little cigar market with LEX12.
LEX12 launched its first entry into the little cigar market just 12 months ago with its signature brand, LEX12 Classic, a slender 100mm sweet-tipped, filtered little cigar. LEX12 is a handcrafted blend of premium American-grown tobaccos that combine a sweet taste with a pleasant aromatic. Its richly textured graphite color paper wrap with stylish platinum band and distinctive jet-black filter distinguishes LEX12 in the marketplace (LEX12.com).
New for LEX12 in 2013, S&M Brands adds two new brand additions—Sweet Chaos and Menthol Chrome—in a hip, new embossed 12-count tin that reflects the size and shape of today's smart phones. With vibrant graphics, LEX12's packaging is a departure from traditional cigar packaging designs. The team also adds convenient grab 'n go 4-packs allowing the product line to enter new markets at a lower price point. In all, S&M Brands has seven new retail products in their LEX12 line.
Since rolling out the new LEX12 product line in Vegas earlier this year, the 60-person sales team reports sales and demand for the new line is "off the charts." Within just six weeks, LEX12 added 4,000 retail locations nationwide and sold out of premium tins and grab 'n go 4-packs.
The company is working overtime, producing 100,000 tins and more than 250,000 grab 'n go 4-packs in its inventory supply chain of LEX12 year to date to keep up with demand. Steven Bailey, president of S&M Brands and LEX12, explains, "Since launching the new brand additions in 2013, we have added new retail stores nationwide above our expectations, and sales have jumped 420 percent compared to this quarter last year."
Bailey adds, "Adult smokers are very brand loyal. We are finding that LEX12 fulfills a niche in the market, something different, something special that today's adult smokers can discover and call their own. To a consumer, LEX12 in its tin stands out on the shelf as compared to the traditional little cigar line-up, and preliminary research shows this product appeals to a range of adult tobacco consumers. Attending both national consumer and trade shows, the feedback we have received has consistently been LEX12's unbeatable taste, pleasant aroma and premium packaging. "
S&M Brands is currently exploring manufacturing upgrades at its facility in Keysville, VA, as well as aggressively pursuing brand extensions and opportunities to fulfill requests from distributors and retailers nationwide.
Source: S&M Brands