Philip Morris to Purchase John Middleton

We’ve been hearing the message from Philip Morris that they intended to become a full “tobacco” company over the past year. The agreement that has been entered into will give Philip Morris the opportunity along with their recent entry into the smokeless category to do just that. What impact will this have on retailers? What impact will this have on other manufacturers? What affect do you think this will have on the space at retail? Share your thoughts on this very interesting acquisition!


#1 hello on 01.27.09 at 5:11 PM

why would you apologize for saying what you think?

#2 agreement here on 01.27.09 at 5:13 PM

It sure sounds like Anonymous is someone from PM trying their best to squelch any and all information that may be close to the truth.

#3 Anonymous on 01.27.09 at 6:54 PM

No additional information is needed. Yes we have the freedom to speak our minds, but there are often consequences to our choice of words.

#4 to hello on 01.27.09 at 7:21 PM

Yes we have the freedom to speak our minds, but there are often consequences to our choice of words. If we spoke our minds without filtering what we say, we could surely end up without a job, with no friends or family, possibly even in jail. Speak with intelligence, not emotions!

#5 candycoatedbliss on 01.27.09 at 7:32 PM

Would they please bring on the oompa loompas already! This stuff’s getting too deep!

#6 Anonymous on 01.27.09 at 7:52 PM

agreed, candy.

#7 Sunshine on 01.27.09 at 10:46 PM

All you people need to stop your bitching and grow some balls and speak up at the next monthly meeting about your concerns. Next Friday is the next meeting, lets see if anybody speaks up.

#8 Anonymous on 01.27.09 at 11:02 PM

This internet game is very unprofessional and should be over. Join myspace or facebook if you want to play internet games. Tobacco Today is no longer a place for games. Best wishes to EVERYONE! Life goes on…

#9 Thank You! on 01.28.09 at 1:27 PM

Thank you very much for ensuring the integrity and professional quality of this blog site!

#10 positive on 01.28.09 at 4:50 PM

Well said MOVE ON

#11 Curious on 01.28.09 at 10:33 PM

Wow, now that it has been a year, I thought I would read and see how the sale has affected the cigar industry. What a surprise to read a column that appears to have become an outlet for the company’s employees to vent frustrations, concern. Did I also read a vailed threat to some for expressing those concerns ?
Glad I don’t work there !

What I would like to know is, with the change in selling to the retailer rather than the wholesaler/distributor, did the number of retailers carrying Middleton products increase, decrease or remain somewhat the same as the warehouse clubs picked up sales.

#12 Confused on 01.28.09 at 11:03 PM

Who censored the comments?
Where did those the comments go?
Who controls this blog Philip Morris?

#13 Horsing around on 01.29.09 at 7:18 AM

So I see some comments about lady friend were removed, which is fine if that’s the way it’s going to be. So shouldn’t the comments from Move on , Sunshine, Stop Horsing Around also be removed? Because I felt a veil of a treat in their comments so why can theirs stay and others have to go? Is it another sign of favoritism? If you going to erase someones comments you have erase the others to. Again it’s all perseption(spelling). People are scared, angry and fighting for their livelihood. Many people have spent so much time here(JMI, JMC) they have called it a second home. So now some are being told to hit the road. This is a venting process. Everyone was told nothing will change. People just want to vent . No threats were made against Lady friend it was observation people were talking about, but threats were made against the people that stated their opinion on what they have seen or the way things were made to be appeared. Nothing was directed at her, but comments(veil threats) were directed at those how thought they were seeing injustice.

#14 let go on 01.29.09 at 12:14 PM

It’s truly time to let go and move on. Things will be the way they are going to be. Be smart and find another way to vent and occupy your time. Thank you very much!

#15 remove on 01.29.09 at 12:22 PM

Remove it all and end this blog already!

#16 to remove & let go on 01.29.09 at 6:20 PM

Hey, the blog was doing just fine until the PM boys got involved and starting to threaten (even hinted at jail). Instead of removing the blog, why not just remove them.

#17 Anonymous on 01.29.09 at 6:20 PM


#18 let go on 01.29.09 at 9:25 PM

I’m quite happy having a job, family, friends, and no police record.This is my last comment before I say something dumb and get myself into trouble. With technology today, surely people could figure out my identity. I’m content keeping a low profile and limiting my risks. Best wishes to everyone in future endeavors!

#19 yo on 01.30.09 at 9:41 AM

Hope PM people put an end to some of the supervisors’ favoritism . Seems to be alot of it.

#20 Big Tuna on 01.30.09 at 6:32 PM

I’ve been wondering a few things? Since PM purchased JM has volume gone up or down? Has the product really reached more retail locations? Has PM brought any innovation to the product line? Is the plant still being operated in PA? I sure do love smoking those sweet cherry blends!

#21 Curious on 01.31.09 at 12:16 AM

Big Tuna — same question I had recently. What do all the reseach firms say the Middleton market share is for 4th qtr 08? I would suspect that it dropped. Would also like to know if Middleton still has several brands in the top 50 or whether they too have fallen.

Tried the Black& Mild wood tip yet ?

Wasn’t the main reason PM bought Middleton to capitalize on ‘helping’ Middleton to increase market share — or was it to just increase one brand and forget the rest.

The plant is still operating in PA.

#22 Clessbutts on 01.31.09 at 12:20 AM

To yo — document

#23 LOU on 02.01.09 at 1:20 AM

PLEASE REVIEW THE FOLLOWING AS IT RELATES TO THIS POSTING: is a blog specifically created for the tobacco world, a world that includes all those people who in one way or another are dealing with tobacco issues, tobacco products, and supplies for the creation of those products. All responsible and respectful individuals inside or outside the industry per se but associated with the tobacco world can post comments and participate.

You can visit every day and see what people are saying and talking about and comment yourself on what’s topical and in the news. The blog is intended to be current and up to date with little moderation in force in the belief that responsible and free individuals can moderate themselves: the best information should prevail. There’s lots to talk about!

The above statements are a part of the guidelines posted below the TobaccoToday Header in the “about” section. Please take a minute to review the entire section.

Thank you

#24 thank you on 02.01.09 at 1:35 PM

Thank you for the clarification Lou and for restoring the integrity and professional nature of this website!

#25 Sue on 02.01.09 at 3:35 PM

I second that statement thank you! Let’s act with respect and some integrity.

#26 Snowball on 02.01.09 at 6:43 PM

I believe that JM volume is up for the year by about 4%. My questions though are how much of this an over distribution that may go out of code as I think the product only has 6 month life. If i’m incorrect I ‘d love to know. Plus I have a question. PM has a no return policy on cigarettes. Did they put this in place with Black & Mild? I know that the wholesale community was not thrilled with the initial distribution approach by PM with Middleton products. Has that been corrected? I’d also like to understand what has been put in place at retail as it relates to contracted space? Please help my understanding.

#27 Snowball on 02.01.09 at 6:50 PM

It’s obvious after looking at several of the postings that this blog is an awesome source of knowledge. I can understand folks get upset with change and I am sympathetic but these merger things are happening in every industry. No government bailout though will grace the tobacco industry as it is truly governments whipping post as well as it’s cash cow!

#28 ???? on 02.02.09 at 2:13 PM

Returns are still in effect with all Middleton products. While not positive on this, there have been returns on over stocked earlier promotions.
Shelf life is 2 years from date of manufacture which as I understand is on the shipping carton. There has always been a bit of confusion as to the way this is indicated on their shipping cartons.

#29 wait on 02.02.09 at 6:45 PM

Product is good for 2 years. A lot of customers can’t handle the overhead. So they order what they need to met the incentives and get there extra credit or check then return the product. To reorder again for the next months incentives. You can’t sell cigars like cigerettes it’s a whole different ball game. Like trying to get baseball rules to fit with a football game.

#30 Frank on 02.05.09 at 7:55 PM

I’ve got GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!

These Middleton blues, are melting away
were gonna make a brand new start of it

just a rumor?

#31 whatajoke on 02.05.09 at 8:48 PM

Famous last words!!!

#32 unsure future on 02.06.09 at 4:13 PM

i am starting to miss the old companies BS, they where not that bad it seems. At least we had job security then the small stuff that went on wasn’t that bad after all, the grass is not always greener on the other side. I would take the old companies BS any day, for the BS we are getting now

#33 tru blu on 02.09.09 at 6:18 PM

I think things are going to be alright, we jus need to slow down and wait to see what happens. but prepair yourself and your family for anything.

#34 gotta be kidding on 02.17.09 at 2:13 PM

Hey tru blu – you have to be kidding. “Things are going to be alright”? The sales force all fired, the vast majority of the office personnel fired, and you are saying “things are going to be alright?” Perhaps you are in the factory and feel some type of protection, but your advice, “prepair (sp?) yourself and your family for anything” is much more accurate than saying everything is going to be alright.

#35 limerick on 02.17.09 at 3:28 PM

I agree with gotta be kidding – in today’s tobacco world you need to be actively considering other industries! Consolidation + SCHIP + FDA all within a matter of a year! WOW! What a storm! But don’t be worried as it’s all working out as planned by the folks at PM.

#36 gotta be kidding on 02.18.09 at 1:44 PM

You are so right-on limerick. PM is working it all out, with employees the collateral damage. With the CEO of PM pulling in $32M/year, I am sure he is quite happy (this figure is not confidential – it is on the web, as PM is a public company).

#37 Anonymous on 02.18.09 at 2:41 PM

#38 Anonymous on 02.18.09 at 2:54 PM

Correction: It is $23.1M

#39 Smoky on 03.05.09 at 1:31 PM

PM is breaking ground in Virginia….hmmmm. Wonder if they’re taking the JM plant down there. Best check it out! MAYBE they’re going to give the unemployed workers from NC the jobs that JM employees currently have.

#40 Concerned Employee on 03.05.09 at 5:37 PM

PM might as well move JMC to Virginia. They have already screwed up things here. If they move to Virginia they can start with a clean slate with all the dumb hillbilly inbred employees from here gone. (SARCASM)

#41 Cig Guy on 03.06.09 at 11:24 PM

Interesting in my mind that the govt will continue to provide stimulus plans to companies that don’t need the plan. HR 1108 should be titled the Marlboro Stimulus Plan!

#42 Smoky on 03.06.09 at 11:27 PM

Hey how are things going out in Limerick, Pa. seems pretty quiet lately. I heard that John Giese is working for CAO in Nashville, TN. Any truth to that he was a good guy!

#43 Anonymous on 03.07.09 at 6:44 PM

John is a great guy and yes, working for CAO. In Limerick, they are slowing eliminating everyone that was connected to Middleton except the people in the factory. Should make a movie named ‘The Demise of a great Name’.

#44 TAZ on 03.18.09 at 1:58 PM

Press Release

Nashville, March 18, 2009: CAO International, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of John Giese to the position of Mass Market National Director of Sales & Marketing. In his new role, Giese will develop and maintain metrics of CAO’s mass market sales process and be an integral part of the Company’s mass market branding strategy.
Prior to joining CAO, Giese spent 21 years as Director of Sales with John Middleton, Inc., and served six years as Regional Sales Manager with General Cigar Co. He is a past recipient of the “Tobacco Man of the Year” award from the Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors and was awarded the “Captain of the Industry” honor by the Pennsylvania Distributors Association.
“I am excited to be a part of such a dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable team as CAO,” commented Giese, “and I am looking forward to further building the mass market cigar segment with the Company.” Added CAO Chairman Gary Hyams, “John’s experience and unique perspective will be a great help to CAO as we look to grow our service, sales, and brand awareness nationally in the mass market segment.”

CAO International, Inc. is the producer of one of the country’s top lines of premium cigars. Founded by Cano A. Ozgener in Nashville as a labor of love 41 years ago, today CAO products can be found on every continent in the world with the exception of Antarctica. CAO produces 11 cigar lines that have all been rated ‘90’ (“OUTSTANDING”) or above by Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider.

#45 tru blu on 03.28.09 at 9:47 PM

its unfortunate that people are losing there jobs at a time like this, but this is big business… Im not sorry for some people who are losing thier jobs they should have been gone a long time ago!!!! maybe the playing field of advancement will be a lil more even.

#46 Anonymous on 03.30.09 at 8:27 PM


#47 Anonymous on 07.28.09 at 5:19 PM

spoken like a true corporate hack tru blu!

#48 True Lies on 07.29.09 at 2:19 PM

I see Kevin McCorry has disappeared from the JMC web site! Was he banished to the Altria Gulag like Joe Workman? He must be so wealthy that he can retire in his early 50’s. The reality is he was fired like the rest of upper management. I quess the only ones left know how to pucker up when necessary.

#49 smoker gal on 08.01.09 at 5:33 PM

You hit on the nose! The KMA folks have away of always staying around and they will only hurt the business by bowing to the all mighty King Mike!

#50 jolly rancher on 07.09.14 at 4:48 PM

I worked for john middleton for over ten years. Altria totally gutted the whole company. Fired everyone that even walked or talked funny. Took away our water and treated us like slaves. People were passing out. Were told for us to keep working. Took away our profit sharing. That was the first thing to go. I loved it there , when I first started. Then it became a terrible place to work. We couldnt even talk to our co operators about machine difficuties. We were told to be quiet. So everyday we didnt know what we were walking into. The paperwork was ridiculous. That took up about 25 min of our start up time. The groupleaders were not allowed to help the operators. Just play on their computers all the time. It seemed like everyday they had a two hr meeting to go to. The quality of black and mild went down. It was all about production. Then some stupid people went over to domican republic to help them set up shop. They shouldve just stayed over there. Because that is probabaly where all the jobs are going. There and virginia. We shouldve formed a union. But , everyone was too scared. Too scared to lose their jobs. Well, probably honna close down anyway. The old john middleton was a much better place. They cared about their people and their product. People dont want empty cigars. Now we are down to two shifts and 10 hr days. No drinks on floor. Three people already passed out. It seems like nobody cares. Its a damm shame. The founder would be turning over in his grave right now.

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