In the spring of 2013, my brother, Jeremy, and I partnered to introduce a new line of benchmade pipes together, planting the seed for Alan Brothers.
Our objective was clear, we wanted to produce briar pipes that exceeded expectations. My own handmade pipes were time and labor intensive to create. They demanded such an attention to detail that it was impossible to produce more than 100-120 pieces in a given year. Yet demand remained so high that I could never catch up.
It’s a good problem to have, for sure, and one that Jeremy and I began to talk more and more about. What if I could design shapes that would be distinctive, and partially made by machine? What if we could use the same briar sources that I used in my handmade pipes? How close could we come to a handmade pipe? Our little world of pipes had two broad categories–factory made and handmade. But what about having the rough work done in a factory, and all the fitting, refining, and finishing done by skilled artisans? Borrowing a word from the shoe and knife making communities, we decided to call our work ‘Benchmade.’ And here’s the key–what if we could do all of this and still sell them for affordable prices?
So, we set to work. Meeting after meeting, brainstorming sessions, followed by research and calls to suppliers and producers. It looked like it was possible, so we decided to give it a shot. In 2015, after two years of development and training, we launched Alan Brothers Supply Co.
Since launch, we have been selling our work (available here) and bringing high quality, high performance pipes to a broader audience. We thank all of you who are enjoying your Alan Brothers pipes for your support, and invite those of you who have not tried one to give our pipes a chance to exceed your expectations.