SS December 2015

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22 SMOKESHOP December 2015 Industry NEWS AmericanCigarAcc_SS Dec08 5/20/09 5:39 PM Page 1 Johnson Creek to Part Ways with Distributor Republic Tobacco hartland, wi—Johnson Creek Enterprises, the pioneering U.S. producer of e-liquids, announced in December it is searching for new distribution partners interested in supplying its vape products to c-stores and vape shops and will end its current distribution deal with Republic Tobacco following a backlash among its vape-only trade customers. "Over the last year, we have heard from many of our customers throughout the vaping community that they were not comfortable with us working with a tobacco company," explained Johnson Creek Enterprises founder and c.e.o. Christian Berkey. In March of 2014, Berkey announced a deal with Republic Tobacco, the largest distributor of roll-your-own tobacco prod- ucts and accessories, to distribute Johnson Creek e-liquids. Berkey explained that Republic was brought on as a partner to place Johnson Creek products into every outlet in the United States. "It was our hope at that time," Berkey explained, "to meet the many requests of our customers to have Johnson Creek products available in stores. Sometimes though, the best of intentions are not enough." In announcing the change of direction, Berkey apolo- gized to the vaping community for any misunderstanding that Johnson Creek's relationship with Republic had changed its business model and culture. "It did not," stated Berkey. "We simply provided incentive for them to get our products out to a larger number of stores. Republic had no say in our day-to- day operations." Moving forward, Berkey envisions a smooth transition with new distributors. "We are ready to get this done," he said. "Our customers want local opportunities to purchase our prod- ucts and we have a full staff to support our distribution chain." Imperial Tobacco to be Renamed Imperial Brands, Reflecting Diversity bristol, england—Imperial Tobacco Group PLC, the parent company of U.S. tobacco companies Tabacalera USA, Altadis U.S.A., and ITG Brands, announced this month it intends to change its corporate name to Imperial Brands to "better reflect the dynamic, brand-focused business that we are now," the company explained in a statement. Imperial Tobacco comprises two distinct businesses: tobacco and logistics. The tobacco business includes the manufacture, marketing, and sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products (including its Fontem Ventures e-cigarettes division), including sales to the logistics business. Logista, its European logistics business, focuses on the distribution of tobacco products for tobacco product manufacturers, including Imperial Tobacco, as well as a wide range of non-tobacco products and services. The name change is contingent upon approval by company shareholders at its annual general meeting in February.

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