Did anyone publish an article about why that is the case? If so, I must have missed it. I don't know if my answer to this is "it's the economy, stupid," and I certainly don't have an MBA in international marketing, but come on -- there's gotta be money to be made here -- why isn't anyone picking up distribution for Capstan and those other great blends and selling them on this side of the pond?
Roth, this is a bone of contention with me too. I wish there was an article published somewhere explaining it all, but I haven't seen one anywhere and I've been looking into the issue a good bit lately.
It's really a shame because they are good stuff, however many are only former shadows of what they once were now that they're made in Denmark or Germany. Most of the ones we'd like to get are very old recipes and have very long histories, but for the most part they're all OTC or "newsagent" brands which have been traded back 'n forth amongst various entities and all the merger activity has made international trademarks a very convoluted matter.
The short answer:
Many companies didn't want to pay extortion money to the govt and thus decided to pull out of the American market instead. This was due to the MSA settlement & later the PACT act.
"...the companies agreed to curtail or cease certain tobacco marketing practices, as well as to pay, in perpetuity, various annual payments to the states to compensate them for some of the medical costs of caring for persons with smoking-related illnesses."
The long answer:
This requires a lot a boring reading about business matters. Many issues stem from the massive amalgamation that went on in the British tobacco industry where the companies where all gobbled up and put under one roof. Famous blends were assets, like Three Nuns which was created by Bell's who merged with Stephen Mitchell & Sons in 1904 then in 1957 amalgamated with W.D. & H.O. Wills.
Some of the original UK tobacco houses:
Belfast, Murray & Sons
Belfast, Thom. Gallaher
Bristol, Edwards, Ringer
Bristol, Franklyn, Davey
Bristol, Hudden & Co
Bristol, W O Bigg
Bristol, WO & HD Wills
Devizes, G & W Anstie
Cork & Dundalk, TR & R Goodbody
Dublin, PJ Carroll & Co
Edinburgh, John Cotton
Glasgow, F & J Smith
Glasgow, J & F Bell
Glasgow, Stephen Mitchell & Son
Paisley, George Dobie & Son
Liverpool, Cope Bros.
Liverpool, Hignett Bros.
Liverpool, Wm Clarke & Son
London, American Tobacco Co
London, B Morris & Son
London, Cohen, Weenen
London, Lambert & Butler
London, Taddy & Company
Newcastle, John Sinclair
Nottingham, John Player & Sons
Now the trademarks for blends developed by many of these old companies are either owned by interests in Denmark or Germany, or in the case of Gallaher's, in Japan:
TOKYO — Japan Tobacco has acquired Gallaher Group for $15 billion, both sides said Wednesday, in what was the biggest Japanese overseas acquisition ever.
BAT owned a large portion of the trademarks and sold them all off.
In 2004, Bat shut down the Murray's factory:
Some history here:
Comprehensive reading here:
W. D. and H. O. Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry: 1786-1965
It's really a bummer how the grand old UK tobacco houses have been cannibalized beyond belief, a sad story.
I think the whole story has a merit of interest and I'd like to get some solid answers, but really I just don't know.
Castles made of sand.