Cornell & Diehl Looks to the Future

Kevin Godbee

As you probably know, Craig Tarler, the founder of Cornell & Diehl, peacefully passed a little over a week ago. After posted the news, we received several emails asking what the future held for the company now that it’s founder and tobacco blender had departed. I spoke to Craig’s son, Chris, yesterday afternoon via telephone.

Craig Tarler was such a strong personality, incredibly well-known, and exceedingly loved in the pipe community, that he was synonymous with the company. A tin of pipe tobacco with the name Cornell & Diehl on it was just like having the name Craig Tarler on the tin. However, Craig was not only an accomplished tobacco blender. He was an astute businessman, and knew that he needed a succession plan for his company to continue without him.

While the news of his passing was sudden, shocking, and unexpected to the pipe community—the business succession plan was put into place 4-years ago when Chris Tarler joined the company. Chris came to Cornell & Diehl after gaining 35-years of corporate experience in the food service business. The change was an easy choice. Chris didn’t need any persuading to join the family business. After three and a half decades in the "corporate rat race" and going through his "midlife crisis", he was ready for something new.

Chris literally obtained hands-on experience blending tobaccos, and running a tobacco manufacturing company from one of the best in the business. He actually took over the day-to-day operations 2-years ago while his father spent less time at work. C&Ds founder had been ailing for the last 1.5-years, and spent his last days in hospice. Chris extols the benefits of hospice as one of the best and easiest ways to get through the difficult time of a loved one going through their final days. He also expressed how moved he was by all of the kind words from members of the pipe community and industry. He said; "My father was well-loved in the industry, and everyone showed it."

Some C&D fans may be surprised to learn that they have already been smoking some of their favorite blends that were created by Chris. They include Nutty Irishman, U.S.S. Mason and Buffalo Soldier.

So, while "one of the greats" has left us, his legacy will live on, and Cornell & Diehl is looking forward to a bright future delivering your favorite blends, and releasing new tobaccos for your smoking pleasure.

See the Cornell & Diehl Factory Tour Here.

19 Responses

  • This is good news. I figured C&D would continue on but am very happy it will still be a family run operation. Their operation has improved greatly over the years and I look forward to enjoying their blends in the years to come.

  • Chris, my condolences about your father. We wish you continued success with Cornell & Diehl, an outstanding blender.

  • Its always sad to hear of someones passing, especially some one as influential and knowledgeable as Craig. Im sort of new to the pipe world, and i wanted somthing that would be mild, tasty, and smell good for my first experience. My first tobacco i ever smoked came from C&D. (apricots and cream) Its hands down still one of my favorites. He will be missed, its just nice to see the legacy live on with his son.

  • It is great to hear that Chris is all set to continue his father’s legacy. I am sure the pipe community is breathing a sigh of relief knowing their favorite blends are in capable hands.

  • I shall miss Craig. However, I have been well aware of Chris’s taking over responsibility for the last few years. Chris was trained by the best, his father! “The apple does not fall far from the tree”!

  • Thank you,, for reporting on the back story of these tragic events. Mr. Tarler’s death rocked the pipe smoking community, and, I’m sure, sent waves of uncertainty rippling through the entire industry. Such was his stature and influence. It’s reassuring to know that Mr. Tarler’s legacy will live on in his son’s capable hands.

  • undecagon wrote:

    Is Chris also going to continue Two Friends with Greg?

    Chris and I have been working quite closely for the past four years, and have no plans to discontinue The Two Friends line. They will continue in honour of the friendship between Craig and I, and in honour of Craig’s memory.
    Though this is all still very fresh, and we are feeling a great loss, things are getting back to normal, and business continues as before, a new chapter in the same book.

  • My deepest condolences to the Tarler Family. Greg and Chris, is there a possibility to honour Craig’s memory, in the Two Friends line, a special blend? Just a thought.

  • I’ve always looked foward to my time with Craig at the CORPS Show, I will miss him. Looking foward to Chris calling tobacco security on me now…Sunday..
    Still reeling from the news…..
    Charles Funn…

  • Craig Tarler was quite the gentleman. I am a fly fisherman. Several years ago I called C&D and talked to Craig personally. I had an idea for a pipe tobacco I wanted to pitch to him and he listened very graciously. Pipe smoking and fly fishing have enjoyed long enjoyed a traditional association, so I suggested to Craig that he ought to sell a blend specifically for fur and feather men, and call it Evening Rise. Craig loved the concept enough to discuss with me what attributes the tobacco should possess for outdoor smoking. He then sent me some samples a week later for testing on the water. After a bit of tweaking the product was perfected and the rest is pipe weed history.
    Craig’s welcoming response to the arcane thought of a nobody such as myself always impressed me and I’m grateful he took the bait, so to speak.

  • Thanks for the update.
    My sympathies to the family. I lost my mother the end of August so I share their pain.
    RIP, Craig.
    You’ll be missed. And Chris, carry on the good work of C&D. God Bless.

  • My deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the Tarler Family and everyone at Cornell & Diehl. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Craig will definitely be missed.
    Chris, I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.