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Golden Virginia is a hand-rolling tobacco brand manufactured in Nottingham, England by Imperial Tobacco and sold throughout Europe. It is a blend of fine-cut Virginia, burley and oriental tobaccos. Golden Virginia first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1877, and it is currently (2019) sold in 30g and 50g pouches. The pouches have a zip lock seal to keep the tobacco fresh along with a sticky tab and one packet of Rizla hand-rolling papers with a 30g pouch, and two packets with a 50g pouch.
According to the Imperial Tobacco website, Golden Virginia is the number one hand rolling tobacco in the UK. It is sold in over 35 markets, predominantly in Western Europe, with its key markets being Belgium, the UK, Spain, Ireland and Luxembourg.
Launch of Golden Virginia Smooth
On 2 March 2009, Imperial Tobacco launched its new Golden Virginia Smooth blend on to the roll-your-own market. It was originally sold in 8g, 10g, 12.5g, 25g and 50g pouches with distinctive, bright yellow branding and packaging which was a noticeable contrast to the Original blend's long-established green and gold packaging and design. It soon began outselling the parent Original brand due to the cheaper mid-pricing point and the range of smaller weights available. In 2012, the 'Handy Pack' was launched which was a regular-sized cigarette box containing a small, 8g pouch of tobacco, a 40-paper pack of Rizla and 24 cigarette filters presented in as four tubes of 6 filters.
From 20 May 2017, following an EU Tobacco Products Directive prohibiting the sale of low weights of hand-rolling tobacco (e.g. 8g, 12.5g and 25g), it is now only sold in 30g and 50g pouches, with a slightly larger 30g Handy Pack launched in 2018.
Similarly, on 1 July 2017, another directive outlawed the use of branding, descriptions and attractive colourisation of packaging. Also banned was the use of descriptive words to describe the 'strength' of a tobacco products, such as 'smooth', 'light' and 'menthol'. This meant that Imperial Tobacco had to begin phasing out the descriptive words on all their tobacco products. In Golden Virginia's case, 'Smooth' became 'Yellow', and, after the plain packaging was enforced, the name was changed again to 'gv Bright Yellow'.
As of April 2019, the name of the brand reverted to 'Golden Virginia Yellow', the name that was used prior to the introduction of plain packaging.
Launch of Bright Sunrise and Bright Midnight
On 3 July 2015, Golden Virginia launched two new blends to the range. Following a revision of brand names which saw Golden Virginia Original become 'gv Original' and Golden Virginia Yellow become 'gv Bright Yellow', the new products followed this naming convention and were called 'gv Bright Sunrise' and 'gv Bright Midnight'.
They were initially available in 10g, 12.5g, 25g and 50g pouches until 20 May 2017, where following an EU Tobacco Product Directive, the sale of all hand-rolling tobacco was restricted to only 30g and 50g pouches only.
As of May 2019, both Golden Virginia Bright Sunrise and Bright Midnight have both been discontinued.