American Snuff Company loves a bear market when it comes to moist snuff and other smokeless tobacco products. It makes the Grizzly, Kodiak, Hawken, and Cougar brands of moist tobacco and is the second-largest manufacturer of smokeless tobacco products in the US. American Snuff also makes loose-leaf tobacco (including Morgan's, Levi Garrett, and Taylor's Pride brands), snuff (Garrett and Dental brands), and a variety of other smokeless tobacco (including twist, moist, and plug). Its Lane unit, sold in 2011, made little cigars and roll-your-own tobacco. Purchased by Reynolds American for $3.5 billion in 2006, the firm generates about 8% of its parent's annual revenue and took its existing name in 2010.
In contrast to the decline in cigarette sales in the US, the market for moist snuff and other smokeless tobacco products is growing. And like the cigarette market, sales of premium brands have lost ground to value-priced brands, including American Snuff's Grizzly brand of moist snuff. To meet the increasing demand, American Snuff purchased property in Memphis, Tennessee, to serve as its new manufacturing facility. American Snuff has invested more than $133 million to expand the property to house its manufacturing, research and development, and packaging and distribution operations. The new facility is expected to come online in 2012.
The increasing popularity of smokeless tobacco products spurred cigarette giant Altria Group to acquire American Snuff's #1 rival UST (maker of the Copenhagen and Skoal brands of moist-snuff) in 2009. Not long after buying UST, Altria launched a new long-cut wintergreen flavor of Copenhagen designed to compete with value-priced brands, including American Snuff's Grizzly long-cut wintergreen variety. Altria subsequently cut prices of Skoal and Copenhagen to better compete with discount brands like Grizzly and Swedish Match's Timber Wolf.
American Snuff sold and distributed tobacco products manufactured by its parent company's subsidiary Lane, Ltd., including cigars and roll-you-own tobacco. However, Reynolds American sold off the Lane unit to Scandinavian Tobacco Group, a Danish pipe tobacco company, for $205 million. Based in Georgia, Lane counted the Kite, Bugler, and Captain Black brands among its portfolio.
Marking a return to its core tobacco business, the tobacco company reassumed its original name, American Snuff, at the start of 2010. The firm had operated as Conwood since 1966, when its diversified operations prompted a name change. Beginning in the '80s, however, the company unloaded all of its non-tobacco units.
Although American Snuff trails rival UST in size and market share, the firm won a $1 billion judgment against its competitor after a jury found that UST unfairly attempted to keep American Snuff products out of stores.
American Snuff's Garrett snuff -- one of the oldest US trademarks in continuous use today -- was granted a trademark by the US Patent Office on its first day in operation October 25, 1870.