V2 Tobacco, Denmark's largest snus manufacturer, announced their new state-of-the-art snus factory came on-line earlier this week. I visited V2 in August 2011 and toured both the original factory and the shell of the new factory. Seeing the new factory in production now is just stunning. Pictures of my August visit to Silkeborg and the pictures of the new V2 snus factory taken this week are all on our SnusCentral Facebook Page under Photos.
The new V2 snus factory measures 2400 sq meters/25,883 sq feet. V2 also bought a larger portion of adjacent land for future expansion. I saw the prototype of one of their new production lines during my trip.
To start with, the new factory has four production lines: 2 by Merz, 1 by Hauni, and 1 loose snus line. Each line is 18 meters long and cost approximately $1.8MM per line. Before the snus makes it's way to the lines, closed system automated grinding and mixing machinery takes the raw tobacco and converts it to snus. All V2 snus continues to be steam pasteurized.
Like the Swedish Match Gothenburg snus factory, from start to finish, everything is automated so human hands never touch the snus or the cans. The only exception is when it it comes to loading the sealed rolls into the master carton. V2 packs the master cartons by hand as a final quality control step.
As outfitted today, the new V2 snus factory has a production capability of around 40MM cans per year.
The first new V2 snuses which will be produced at the new factory are Nordstrommen Brandy Alexander loose snus, Offroad Coffee Supreme portion snus, Thunder Coola ES loose, Thunder Cool Mint ES portion, and Thunder Orange ES portion snus. Production of the existing Thunder, Offroad, and other V2 brands are also on the production schedule.
The new V2 snuses will start being released end of January/early February.
What I'm really interested in discovering is considering the massive upgrade from the original factory, how will the taste and quality of the V2 snus produced in the new factory compare to the old? Will the same snus recipes created on the latest advanced machinery taste the same or even better? Considering consumer feedback on the Thunder Chrome series, will moisture levels be more consistent? Will the occasional can with burst portions become the very, very rare cans with burst portions?
Logically, the answer to all the above will be a resounding 'yes'. When Swedish Match took over production of 1847 snus from PMI and the Rocker factory, The new 1847 taste was all the best of the old version with none of the bitterness PMI 1847 was sometimes criticized for. If Swedish Match had been able to continue using the classic metal 1847 cans, I strongly believe 1847 would never have been de-listed. The switch to plastic cans for production line necessities was just too radical for 1847 users at the time.
I still believe that if 1847 were reintroduced in late 2012 or early 2013, can memories will have faded and a whole new generation of snusers would embrace Philip Morris 1847 as an excellent product.
The original V2 snus factory has been completely emptied. It will be literally blasted into rubble by the Danish government sometime in the very near future. We will have pictures and maybe even video of the demolition when it occurs.
As to my favorite V2 snuses, I can't wait to taste them all over again!
Enjoy your snus!
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org