Nick and Johnny snus
Who's Nick? And who the hell is Johnny?
This snus was born with the smoker in mind. Every pouch will deliver about 40% more nicotine than your average snus brand. But any question about the true identities of Nick and Johnny, will probably remain unanswered...
A snus with a little more oomph...
The folks at Swedish Match had a mission: To make a snus that would suit the new generation of snusers, not bound by traditions. They started with asking a lot of questions to a lot of snusers. The result was a snus with some 40% more nicotine in it - 11 mg per pouch, compared to the typical 8 mg. This was crucial as the smokers otherwise would be less likely to consider a smokefree alternative. They also decided to name it Nick & Johnny. The Original was first released in Norway in 2006, where it became popular very fast and quickly gained a healthy 2% market share, (which is quite a lot of snus). One year later, it was time for Nick & Johnny Strong, a snus with even more oomph given to it. Each pouch delivers a potent dose of 12 mg nicotine. In the summer of 2010, Nick & Johnny Strong was upgraded with White-portion technology, where the tobacco undergoes a moist treatment before being sealed in pouches.
The result is a slightly drier snus, that has won the heart of Norwegians, in particular - sales of this type of snus went up with 164% in less than three years. Mission accomplished? Well, we haven't seen the end of the Nick & Johnny story yet. Our gut feeling is, that with time it will be developed and refined even more. The folks at Swedish Match are not lazy.
Googling didn't help.
We have failed. So far, any attempts on finding the true identities of Nick and Johnny have been unsuccessful. Googling didn't help. We even managed to take a peek inside the brand bible. Nothing of substance there. We believe that this is a brand for people who are not like us. For the record we are quite ordinary 9-to-5 workers (sorry, that's a lie - we often work at crazy hours) and honestly, most of us look like your average computer consultant. The average Nick & Johnny snuser will probably be found in places that are way too hip for us. We peeked into a hipster world of fixed-gear bikes, club promoting, conceptual street art, avant garde photography, longboard skaters, re-editing and remixing dance music... Not that we didn't like what we saw. The people were laid-back. They seemed very comfortable in their own skin. Their music was somewhat beyond the Top40 format. They had quite a bit of a slacker attitude but were apparently working hard on different projects. We could go on like this for quite a while, but we think you get the idea. It was interesting but it was simply not our world, (heck no, we sell snus!). We saw something different and met some different people. This is their snus. Maybe it's yours as well?
Rigorous control - from plant to pouch
It starts in the soil. Before someone even puts a seed in it, soil samples are taken to a laboratory in Sweden for analysis. Swedish Match experiments with cultivation in different countries to achieve the best possible raw tobacco. If declared a good soil for tobacco, seeds are planted and every step in the development and the cultivation of the plant is carefully monitored. The tobacco is selected on the basis of seed type, location, climate, leaf position on the plant and curing conditions. When cultivation have started, representatives from Swedish Match will visit the plantations regularly to ensure that the crops will meet the requirements. There's a simple purpose for all this care: To ensure that the tobacco that ends up being selected for the various snus blends from Swedish Match contains the lowest levels of undesirable components possible. This quality control continues through the entire chain of production; when the leaves are harvested and air-cured; when transported and later sorted in a gianormous, perfectly climatized storehouse. Then, finally, the tobacco will find its way to the factory.
When hi-tech meets a 200 year-old tradition.
In step one, the tobacco leaves are crushed and ground to fine grains; the size of the particles varies with the brand. The tobacco is then carefully mixed into a blend. A blend could contain anything between 10 and 30 different grades of tobacco depending on the recipe. In step two, the tobacco is mixed with the other main snus ingredients; water and salt. It's then time for it to undergo heat treatment, (pasteurization). After being chilled the tobacco meets the different ingredients - spices, natural oils or even bourbon whiskey - that will give the snus that extra flavor and special character. And then, finally, it's time for packaging. Loose snus goes straight into the can. For portions the correct amount of snus is first wrapped in a little pouch. In the Swedish Match factories, there is a zero tolerance for errors. Everything - which means everything - is completely focused on delivering top quality. Sophisticated instruments measure and control the process along with watchful and well trained eyes. The tradition of manufacturing snus is 200 years old in Sweden, but there's nothing traditional or old about the Swedish Match production plant. If your nose wouldn't detect the pleasant scent of tobacco here and there in the manufacturing facility, you could easily picture that parts for a fighter jet were being produced instead of snus. They even invented their own quality standard, GothiaTek. And that certainly did not happen because they wanted to make life easy for themselves. It's very much the other way around. Yes, those Swedes are a tough bunch.