McClelland: "We're Just Going to Close the Doors"

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Oct 10, 2013
I just got off the phone with Mary McNiel. I had left them a message earlier in the day and she was kind enough to call me back. Mary is undoubtedly one of the nicest (and most knowledgeable) people in the tobacco industry. We had a wide-ranging discussion on how the industry has changed over the past decade or so: The removal of government price supports, the farmer buyouts, the demise of the auction system, all of which has led to an overall decline in the quality, availability and diversity of tobacco available to McClelland. Then there's the FDA, and the great regulatory and financial burdens it will place on them. Up to a half million dollars to get all of their blends tested to meet FDA regulations. And if they suspend production of a blend (due to not having the right leaf available, as in the situation with 5100) they may not be able to resume production without going through the FDA approval process for new products.
In the end, Mary and Mike have made the decision to close their doors. The exact timing isn't known to them as of yet, as they are still tinning blends that they have in stock. But they do not foresee much, if any, additional production. "We look at the burdens that lie ahead with the FDA. What does the future hold?" Mary told me, "We're just going to close the doors".
Mary and Mike, I wish you the very best in your retirement. Move forward, knowing that you have brought over 40 years of happiness and pleasure to pipe smokers around the world. You will be missed, but you will always be deeply appreciated for bringing us extraordinary and unique blends, pipe tobacco like no one else makes, now and forever.



Can't Leave
May 21, 2013
Sad to see such a time honored and beloved brand forced out of business by government regulations, but their reasoning is perfectly understandable. I wish these fine folks the best in the future and I personally will miss their products.



Mar 11, 2014
Good for them! Bummer for us. I wish I was better prepared. There were so many of their tobaccos I hadn't tried yet. Cheers to Mary and Mike for my four years of enjoying their products, and for all the years and tins the rest of us have enjoyed over the last forty!



Staff member
May 12, 2015
Carmel Valley, CA
Ah, sad in many ways, but for Mike and Mary I hope it's a big relief and that they enjoy many years in retirement, and come to a bunch of pipe shows in the future.
Thanks for the important posting, Dan.

Jan 28, 2018
Noblesville, IN & Sarasota, FL
Thanks for posting this. I will miss many of their products, they are definitely my favorite brand. I wish the two of them the best as they retire, they’ve certainly earned it. They set standards for Virginia pipe tobacco products that will never be equaled.



Can't Leave
May 5, 2015
Sad news, but good for them as others have said. Their innovation, uniqueness, and uncompromising quality will be sorely missed.
As far as panic buying and TAD go, this should be noted: "they are still tinning blends that they have in stock." So what's currently out there is not the absolute end, yet.



The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
Hi Dan,
Thanks for posting this. Sounds right.
Congratulations and thanks to the McNeils for 40 years of great blends and uncompromising quality. Enjoy the next great thing.

Dec 24, 2012
Sad news, but I understand and wish them the best.
All these threads on McClelland have made me wonder - if Germain ever goes out of business, it would probably take us all 5 years to figure it out given their production.

  • Haha
Reactions: Sparks317


Can't Leave
Apr 3, 2013
Thank you very much for the information. Very sad news but understandable, I wish them all the best.



Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 21, 2014
I can see it coming, but not as early as this decade.
I just can say thank you and a sad farewell to my beloved American tobacco manufacturer. To remember your blends, I may have to add some Heinz ketchup to my Virgina tobacco.



Can't Leave
Apr 23, 2017
Thanks for posting Woods, this is indeed sad news. Their blends will be missed but they deserve some rest and relaxation now!



Can't Leave
Nov 28, 2011
Well, the news came more quickly than I had hoped. I am not going to go crazy but there are a few blends that are still available that I am going to stock up on. The rest, well hopefully down the road I will get and opportunity here or there to sample some of their blends that I was unable to try during production. Thanks for the information and Of course I thank the McNeils for the wonderful blends that I have been able to enjoy and I wish them all the best.

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