When you have QUESTIONS or want to get FACTS on the best cigars in the world, you go to Cuba. When you have QUESTIONS, want to get the FACTS, and DEBUNK RUMORS on the best Snus in the world, you go to Sweden and in particular, the largest Swedish Snus manufacturer in the world, Swedish Match AB.
If you've ever tried or heard of of Swedish Snus brands like Catch, Ettan, General, Göteborgs, Grovsnus, Kronan, Nick & Johnny, Onico, Piccanell, Prismaster, Probe, Röda Lacket, Tre Ankare , or Vertigo, then you've tried or heard of a Swedish Match Brand!
Swedish Match is the largest producer of snus in the Scandinavian markets. Their major markets include Sweden, Norway, the US, and South Africa.
Below are excerpts from a series of emails my new friend Asa of Swedish Match and I exchanged. Much has been redacted, as it still isn't public knowledge.....except to Swedish Snus insiders like Mr. UNZ (OK, it would be NICE to be an insider: grant me this one delusion). But what I am publishing answers some very important questions once and for all:
Hi Asa !
Love your products! Can't wait to try the General Sterk with it's higher nicotine level. I receive a lot of questions on my blog about snus and lately the hottest keyword in searches is (amazingly and sadly) Camel Snus.
I got to this page from a link from British American Tobacco (bat.com). To make a long story short, does Swedish Match in any way, shape or form, have anything to do with either the Camel or Marlboro snus marketed in the United States?
- There is conflicting information as to whether Camel snus in particular is made in the United States by an RJR company or by BAT in Sweden.
- Does either Camel or Marlboro snus conform to your GothiaTek standards (that's the implication at BAT.com)?
- It is also said Swedish Match manufactures/is involved in the the manufacture of Marlboro snus as marketed in the USA? Is this true?
- The Philip Morris 1847 sold outside the USA (which is very good by the way); are you in any way involved in it's manufacture or recipe?
As a side note, I tried and did not like the Nick &J East. I didn't try the West as it seems the same product as the original only with less snus (I like the original).
Why the drop to 20gr from 24gr and the coffin-shaped containers? Are these designed to be a USA Market Product? Your answers would be greatly appreciated.
There is a lot of misinformation on the difference between real (Swedish) snus and the Camel and Marlboro offerings in the USA. I'm trying to clear that up for my readers.
Thank you very much in advance,
And Asa's Response.............................
Dear Mr. UNZ,
I must start by saying I'm sorry you had to wait for an answer. I just visited your blog and I must say I really enjoyed it - congratulations.
Swedish match don't have anything to do with the Camel or Marlboro snus market in the US, in any way (manufacturing, distribution etc...). They are our competitors and are also launching their products on the Scandinavian market. Swedish Match does own a distribution company in Sweden: "Swedish Match Distribution AB" that does distribute our competitors products to stores within Sweden. Maybe that is an explanation when it comes to the rumor.
I'm almost sure that the Camel snus is manufactured in the US by Reynolds and that BAT's snus brands (Lucky Strike for example) is manufactured by "Fiedler & Lundgren" in Scandinavia.
It is only Swedish match snus products that can be "branded" with GothiaTek and our GothiaTek-standard: our manufacturing processes are Company secrets. But I am sure that they are doing anything they can to limit undesired components in their products.
Swedish Match is not involved in the "1847" in any way.
When it comes to Nick and Johnny (original and the East and West versions) it is a product that we produced and first launched (and designed) for the Norwegian market.
In Norway the consumers tend to like snus that is "stronger" both in taste and nicotine. The target group is younger adults and they wanted to have something different than the regular round snus box. West is stronger in taste and nicotine than East that is a milder version.
I hope that I did answer your questions. If you need any more information, please do not hesitate to get back to me. (in that case it would be good if you contact me this week since I'm on vacation after that.)
Good luck with your blog!
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions, by e-mail or telephone.
Swedish Match North Europe AB
To Which I Replied:.................................
Thank you for your detailed response and your kind words on my blog. Snus has become a passion of mine and Swedish Match is not only the obvious leader in Swedish Snus, but makes all my favorite brands! The Philip Morris 1847 is good and in my Swedish Snus rotation, but General still obviously rules this taste category.
I look forward to purchasing a roll of the General Sterk with my next order. I'm really intrigued by whether or not it will taste more like Onyx or Regular (considering the way you are packaging it). I suspect the regular by the pricing, but General White-Portion is my favorite brand and I have been hoping for a high-nicotine General version for some time.
I also received an email from XXXXXXXXXXXXX, your USA Director of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX: thank you for bringing me to her attention! She has invited me to call her, which I intend to take her up on. I'm also going to copy her on this email so I can bring to her attention how helpful and timely you have been.
If you have no objection, I believe my readers would be interested the contents of your email as well. I could just summarize it but, with your permission, I would like to post the email itself. Of course I would remove (redacted)as well as any other information you would rather not see published yet.
Please let me know if this is OK with you and what information (if any beyond redacted above) you would like removed. If you prefer I don't publish the email itself, let me know and I'll just report on the key highlights.
(5 paragraphs redacted here)
And I DID notice your lack of comment on the snus reduction to 20gr. in the new Nick &J product. (I would put a smiley face icon here, but THAT would be unprofessional). I am curious if the original Nick and Johnny is still going to marketed or are you phasing that out in favor of the new East and West product.
I also included my personal contact information below for your convenience.
Thank you again for time in responding and enjoy your vacation!
To which Asa responded......................
Thanks again for a nice e-mail. You are doing such a good job with your blog and also with promoting Swedish snus! I can really hear that snus is your passion.
You can publish all the information from my previous e-mail, but (two paragraphs redacted)
As my signature you can write: Åsa, Consumer Relations, Swedish Match North Europe AB
I can understand that you smiled when I forgot to answer your question on 20 grams. It was actually a mistake. :-).
The reason for the change is that we, when we introduced a brand new product, adjusted to the weight that the most of our competitors products have.
Also the government in Sweden have raised the tax on tobacco two years in a row (totally 170 percent) and that of course affects on the price on snus. A lighter product costs less for the consumer. We have had both positive and negative response on the change from our consumers.
With this I wish you a nice summer!
Consumer Relations, Swedish Match North Europe AB
Which invoked a final reply from me...for now...............
Hi Asa and (redacted)!
Asa, I hope you're enjoying your vacation!
RE: your last email, I'm surprised the Swedish Government raised the snus tax 170%, although the USA is has been doing similar to tobacco products for years. If everyone quits tobacco due to the high taxes, the US economy, at least, will come crashing down without the revenue.
I didn't realize the tax increase was a Swedish one: I thought it was a EU tax. I believe France is President right now, so that wouldn't have surprised me. Too bad: it would have been interesting to see how much the French would have enjoyed a 170% increase in EU wine taxes!
(4 paragraphs redacted)
July 15, 2008