How Beat Hauenstein, CEO of Oettinger Davidoff Is Keeping The Company’s Flame Alive

We speak to Oettinger Davidoff CEO, Beat Hauenstein about what makes cigar connoisseurs drawn towards the Swiss company.


Beat Hauenstein

Beat Hauenstein, CEO of Oettinger Davidoff

It was Winston Churchill who once reflected, “Smoking cigars is like falling in love; first you are attracted by its shape, then you stay for its flavour, and you must always remember never, never to let the flame out.”

As for Oettinger Davidoff, they’ve kept that flame alive ever since the Davidoff name first laid its foundations in Switzerland over a century ago, when Zino Davidoff opened a humble cigar shop in Geneva. Today, Davidoff Cigars are available in over 130 countries, with over 700 appointed merchant partners all over the world.

Taking a leaf out of its founders’ book, the family-owned company based in Basel, Switzerland, still maintains the same pioneering spirit and a love of craftsmanship to this day. “We want to continue to surprise our customers with new innovative blends and formats while at the same time guaranteeing the highest quality and consistency,” Beat Hauenstein, the CEO of Oettinger Davidoff, tells The Peak.


Keeping a finger on the pulse of market trends while adapting to customers’ tastes is part of the company’s approach to sustaining a sense of enthusiasm among cigar aficionados and as a way of drawing in potential customers.

Take, for example, the brand’s The Difference campaign, which showcases Davidoff’s renowned White Band Collections as a testament to the company’s quest for excellence.

Here, Swiss precision is shown through the cigar-making process of the ultra-premium collection, where every single leaf is weighed before rolling, ensuring every blend contains the same ingredients.

It is this meticulous attention to detail that forms part of the brand’s allure. “The willingness to spend on excellence in craftsmanship, quality, and consistency has definitely helped us to strengthen and further enhance our position in the Southeast Asian market,” says Hauenstein on how the company’s approach fits into this new sophisticated consumer profile.

Given the rise in demand for premium handmade cigars, it’s an interesting time for the market in Southeast Asia. Hauenstein explains how there have been records of fantastic growth in the past few years, especially in Malaysia.

The current cigar boom, which began to emerge during the pandemic, shows no signs of extinguishing soon, especially now with an increase in interest among the younger generation who have a newfound appreciation for premium cigars.

“We were used to seeing consumers in their fifties or sixties but the demographic for the Southeast Asian consumer is getting younger and they are more curious in discovering new tastes and profiles,” says Hauenstein.

As for the company, Oettinger Davidoff reached a record-breaking profitable year in 2022 with a sales turnover increase of over 8.2 percent compared to 2021 and sales reaching CHF 494.1 million.


The company also increased production in the Dominican Republic and Honduras to over 26.3 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year, resulting in over 43.1 million cigars in 2022. While the 2023 financial results are only slated to be released in June this year, Hauenstein is optimistic that they’re about to have another successful financial year.

But just how does Hauenstein aim to keep this momentum going in 2024? “It’s not so much about maximising our top line, but it’s more about attracting new and existing consumers in the market towards our brand,” he says.

“This is valid for all markets, and we want to surprise consumers with innovative cigars and in the way we communicate with them.”


Having said that, there are also the intricacies of cigar and tobacco regulations and legal restrictions to navigate. “It’s not only about producing the best cigars with the best quality and consistency, but making sure there is compliant market access in as many markets as possible,” says Hauenstein, adding that this helps them to react with agility and flexibility in the ever-changing market.

Hauenstein might stress on the company’s figures and business goals, but he also alludes to the cigar’s glamour and romantic qualities. Because, at the end of the day, it is the ambience that is part of what makes cigar smoking so pleasurable.

“It’s the quality; it’s the mood,” he says when asked about what he enjoys the most about a cigar. “If I can share the moment with people, it’s what I enjoy the most. All of the ingredients that make up the moment are key at the end.”

This story first appeared in The Peak Malaysia April 2024 Issue.

, ,

Type keyword(s) and press Enter