Perhaps the most difficult thing to do as a writer, specifically one who is supposed to concentrate on pipe tobacco, is to focus on what I’m supposed to write about when it seems everything else happening around me is much larger. On one hand, if you’re reading this, you’re here to get away from everything else. We have that in common. Even if just for a moment, it’s important to not focus on what is being hyper-focused upon. I’d hate to sound ignorant or callous simply assuming things in the world at the moment are pleasant enough to just smoke, write and sip a little bit of rye and think everything is normal. Things are far from normal: routines are disrupted, but that isn’t stopping me, nor should it you, to take a break. I have no lofty answers to what is going on or where it will all go, but I’ve personally been through worse. Perhaps you have as well. With the recognition pleasantries out of the way, grab a smoke, pour a drink, and join me in my words about this month’s pipe tobacco: Seattle Pipe Club’s mellow English, Mount Rainier. As a minor side-guest, I have a bottle of reasonably-priced Old Forester Rye whiskey which I found to be a very delightful companion.
Welcome to The Pipes Magazine Radio Show Episode 413! Our featured interview tonight is with Milos “Mike” Beara from Pipes, Pens, and More. Milos is in Belgrade, Serbia, and has the business with his father. They sell Tobacciana, Pens & Writing Instruments, Decorative Collectibles, Lamps, Lighting, Clocks, and more. The emphasis is definitely on pipes though. At the top of the show, for our pipe parts segment, Brian will refer back to the Seven Questions for Seven Experts, and give you his answer to: “Do you prefer your pipe bowls coated or not? Is it a deal breaker for you?” Sit back, relax with your pipe, and enjoy The Pipes Magazine Radio Show!
I had a chance to sit down with Chris Gawith and chat to him about his two brands, Samuel Gawith and Gawith and Hoggarth. It was an audio interview, so I have transcribed it as such.
Are you thinking about dropping one of the brands?
No, not at all. They are all made under the same roof; when Sam Gawith came over to us we bought the men, machinery, and the brands, basically everything just sort of moved, more or less all of them stayed, maybe one or two decided to move on. It has been run up to now as just their company under our roof, which works to a point. But now we’ve discovered what the demand is, but the two brands will remain as they are.
The problem with leaving it just at that stage which we are trying to address. You can’t operate as a business with two teams of people; we need to manage the equipment and the human resources to deliver what pipe smokers want us to deliver. Gawith Hoggarth can produce tobacco a lot quicker; it’s just the nature of how the tobacco is made at Samuel Gawith.
Remember the annals of a former time in the pipe world? An era when the old wood meant grabbing a beautiful smoking pipe off the rack or reaching for a basket pipe on the counter in your favorite brick-and-mortar shop and taking it home to break it in for future smokes?
Yes, the good days. Back in an era when basket pipes could mean a name-brand second, and pipes displayed on store walls were, for the most part, some of the finest wood of the day.
Maybe those years were not necessarily the best of times, but certainly not the worst of times, to hitch a ride with Dickens, as it were.
I speak of days when some ancient wood was around and more prevalent than today for our pipe-making artisans.
Sure, nowadays, ebauchons from the heart of the heath burl and the outer plateaux are dried and aged into a ripe maturity.
And it is difficult to argue with the quality of what is being produced these days by so many talented pipe artisans. These pipe makers create lovely and imaginative pipes for our pleasure and appreciation.
Last May I attended the Chicago Pipe Show, and the first person I saw was an Englishman named Reggie Stevens. Reg lives in Birmingham, England and speaks with the accent of someone who has lived in the north of England his whole life. He sounds a little like Ringo Starr.
“Reg!” I said, “It’s so good to see you!” as I gave him a big bear hug.
“Well, I’ll tell you, mate,” he said, “I’m feeling a little better now. My wife of 54 years died in January, and this is the first time I can feel the cloud lifting a little – because of all the love and friendship there is at this pipe show.”