“The Indian market is a very tough one for premium cigars because the taxes are so outrageous. The government does not differentiate between other tobacco products such as cigarettes and beedis which are addictive and very harmful and premium cigars which are luxury products, smoked occasionally and not inhaled,” Patel said.
In the US, Patel is upbeat about expanding his brand of premium cigar lounges Burn by Rocky Patel. “The five lounges that we have opened are all extravagant venues each offering a unique local experience. We wanted to change the idea of cigar lounges as dark and smoky spaces where old men smoked and drink whisky. The Burn lounges are all architecturally extravagant spaces spread across 5500-7500 sq ft. We spent over $5 million in building each of them and they are attracting young people, women, millennials and offer a great mix of design, live music and different experiences,” Patel said. The Burn lounges are located at Florida, Atlanta, Oklahoma, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh and new ones are being planned at Dallas, Houston and Las Vegas.
“We are already selling 30 SKUs of Rocky Patel and adding a few more soon. The prices range between Rs 750 and Rs 4000 per cigar in India,” says Hemanth Sureddi of Cigar Conexion, the distributor of the Rocky Patel brand in India. The limited edition Rocky Patel ALR was recently launched in India.
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