We had this discussion the other day with some of the cigar brethren. Where do you buy your product? Is supporting your local cigar shop more important even if they charge more for your sticks or do you shop all the catalogues for a better price and selection?
It was a good discussion with no right or wrong answer. The larger concerns usually delivers a better price point and a vast selection of stock. Yet, several of the crew felt many of the cigars are items that do not sell and are just re badged smokes that manufacturers are trying to get rid of. This is probably true but does that make them bad smokes? There are all shades of product out there with all types of price points.
However, smaller shops may often times just sell products that everyone knows and will buy. They cannot afford to keep cigars on their shelves knowing very few consumers will purchase them. So the better known cigars will be given shelf space and perhaps they may take a chance on cigars with a small boutique name and sometimes keep them in stock. It's always great to find an unknown brand that might be found at your local B and M.
As we know there are hundreds of brands in the market place that do not make a big dent in the overall cigar world but could be a quality product. They do not have the resources to market their brand or it might be just a regional appeal.
I have gone to cigar shops with a selection of this type of cigar and have tried a cigar that I may not know or heard of. Sometimes this does happen in cigar blogs and in magazines so the overall cigar public might learn of a cigar of note. Word of mouth also helps these brands.
Still most of the big cigar catalogues will rarely carry a boutique brand. Some brands also manage to get known through cigar events in B and M's or big events. I go to several of these type of cigar gatherings throughout the year. They are always fun but more importantly I am exposed to brands I might never get a chance to learn about.
The best mix I think is going to your local favorite cigar haunt, try a product and if you like it , try to find the best price you may find. There is no one way to finding or buying your cigars. What works best for you is what you should be doing.