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Old_Newby

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 1, 2022
522
1,322
Texas
I apologize for being lazy and not researching this topic but wanted to throw an idea out there for your radio show or articles m, etc.

I was watching a Jeremy Reeves review this weekend and then saw another YTPC video about whether pipe tobacco hobby industry was healthy or in decline.

I put these 2 things together in my mind and came up with a question about future new blenders? Seems our top dogs are getting older and I was curious how healthy the blender profession is today?

Can you discuss?
 
Aug 11, 2022
2,428
19,140
Cedar Rapids, IA
Ernie Q from Watch City says this a lot, that the real threat to the future of pipe smoking is not regulations or leaf availability, but not having enough new blenders to take the reins.

Can't remember if it was in this particular interview (it's long and I haven't watched it in a while), but he has speculated that the pipe tobacco industry might only have another 10-15 years left:

 
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Jan 30, 2020
1,996
6,569
New Jersey
Jeremy isn't old by any means but yes, they are, as a group, starting to age out. Greg Pease is up in years, Per Jensen was let go by Mac Baren's and Mike McNiel retired. I don't think we are running low on blenders. There's so many guys looking at so few positions it shouldn't be a problem.
Dang, I didn't know that about Per Jensen, how unfortunate.

I imagine these companies do have some junior blenders in house that you just don't hear about, doing their thing.
 

hoipolloiglasgow

Can't Leave
Oct 14, 2023
389
1,581
United States
Ernie Q from Watch City says this a lot, that the real threat to the future of pipe smoking is not regulations or leaf availability, but not having enough new blenders to take the reins.

Can't remember if it was in this particular interview (it's long and I haven't watched it in a while), but he has speculated that the pipe tobacco industry might only have another 10-15 years left:

I doubt that. Probably A LOT longer than 15 years. Regulations are probably the biggest threat. These blenders write/type everything down in great detail so the blender and team knows what to do to keep everything consistent. Weight, ratios, temperature, aging, pressing, casing concoction used, etc. They all know what to do. I'd bet many of them could and may actually make their own blends from their experience. Somebody will always step up to the plate. It's an art for sure, but it is far from being lost.
 
Aug 11, 2022
2,428
19,140
Cedar Rapids, IA
I doubt that. Probably A LOT longer than 15 years. Regulations are probably the biggest threat. These blenders write/type everything down in great detail so the blender and team knows what to do to keep everything consistent. Weight, ratios, temperature, aging, pressing, casing concoction used, etc. They all know what to do. I'd bet many of them could and may actually make their own blends from their experience. Somebody will always step up to the plate. It's an art for sure, but it is far from being lost.

In my experience (not in tobacco blending, but software engineering), domain knowledge is very easily lost if a company doesn't make a deliberate effort to write everything down and drill it into the new employees. According to Per Jensen, Planta never wrote anything down, it was all in the heads of the blenders! Can you imagine if one of them died in a car crash on the way to work? Many of McClelland's processing methods are as good as lost since the McNeils do not want to pass them along. And that's just a recent example. Bengal Slices and War Horse Bar (among others in that group) had to be reverse-engineered because the original recipes are not available. They might still exist in some corporate files, but there again, if the company doesn't care for the information to get passed on, it is as good as dead.

I hope for our sakes, that you are right that new blenders will step up, but it's not a profitable line of work. It's a labor of love that is appreciated by a smaller and smaller group of people every year.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,795
111,233
I doubt that. Probably A LOT longer than 15 years. Regulations are probably the biggest threat. These blenders write/type everything down in great detail so the blender and team knows what to do to keep everything consistent. Weight, ratios, temperature, aging, pressing, casing concoction used, etc. They all know what to do. I'd bet many of them could and may actually make their own blends from their experience. Somebody will always step up to the plate. It's an art for sure, but it is far from being lost.
The biggest problem is having material to work with. Not shipping to certain areas and the possibility of no online sells would take its toll, but with pipe tobacco depending on cigarette and chew sales to keep the market feasible for growers to produce more tobacco, it may not be much longer.
 

VDL_Piper

Lifer
Jun 4, 2021
1,124
11,823
Tasmania, Australia
Based on sheer weight of numbers the U.S. seems to dominate in the pipe smoking numbers. That said, all it would take is legislative reform on tobacco tax in the U.S. and the game is over. I'd suggest that if you guys (Americans) were faced with $150 tobacco per tin the industry would collapse virtually overnight. Europe most likely would follow suit in 3/5 years and then the Governments of the world would move onto the next thing to disrupt and ultimately destroy, probably alcohol would be the next target.
 

georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,625
14,714
Based on sheer weight of numbers the U.S. seems to dominate in the pipe smoking numbers. That said, all it would take is legislative reform on tobacco tax in the U.S. and the game is over. I'd suggest that if you guys (Americans) were faced with $150 tobacco per tin the industry would collapse virtually overnight. Europe most likely would follow suit in 3/5 years and then the Governments of the world would move onto the next thing to disrupt and ultimately destroy, probably alcohol would be the next target.

Exactly so.

Tobacco isn't a target in itself, it's just one of many lifestyle-choice things that the wannabe political "leader" types find categorically threatening to the Obedient Citizen World they dream about and claim will be Nirvana For All.

Such creatures have always existed.

Previous generations never had staggeringly detailed personal information about every last person available at the touch of a button, though.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and etc. accomplished what they did with 1) secret police, 2) snitches (both enticed and coerced), and 3) soldiers with nuts-and-bolts weapons.

That's it.

NONE of those three things are necessary, anymore.

People willingly provide (to an astonishing level of detail) information about their life, activities, relationships, business interests, travel, expenditures, and so forth via "product user agreemants;" and those in charge only have to "pinch off" someone's access to money to force compliance.

It's already been done, in fact. Bank accounts frozen as a weapon. As an official action by a government.

Do what we want, or else.

No, tobacco is just an insect on the windshield of that train.
 

Auxsender

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 17, 2022
927
5,054
Nashville
I doubt that. Probably A LOT longer than 15 years. Regulations are probably the biggest threat. These blenders write/type everything down in great detail so the blender and team knows what to do to keep everything consistent. Weight, ratios, temperature, aging, pressing, casing concoction used, etc. They all know what to do. I'd bet many of them could and may actually make their own blends from their experience. Somebody will always step up to the plate. It's an art for sure, but it is far from being lost.
Yeah, what does old Ernie Q know, right?
He’s just a dummy that has 0 experience as a sourcer and blender.
We should instead listen to you because of your long tenure as a well known and well respected blender, right?
 

Auxsender

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 17, 2022
927
5,054
Nashville
Based on sheer weight of numbers the U.S. seems to dominate in the pipe smoking numbers. That said, all it would take is legislative reform on tobacco tax in the U.S. and the game is over. I'd suggest that if you guys (Americans) were faced with $150 tobacco per tin the industry would collapse virtually overnight. Europe most likely would follow suit in 3/5 years and then the Governments of the world would move onto the next thing to disrupt and ultimately destroy, probably alcohol would be the next target.
You do realize that literally 25% of all humans in the universe are on the continent of Asia, right? Americans are a tiny fraction of possible tobacco consumers.
 

hoipolloiglasgow

Can't Leave
Oct 14, 2023
389
1,581
United States
Yeah, what does old Ernie Q know, right?
He’s just a dummy that has 0 experience as a sourcer and blender.
We should instead listen to you because of your long tenure as a well known and well respected blender, right?
There are people out there blending Greg Pease's work at C&D. There are people at Gawith that know what they're doing and have for a long time. That's just a couple of examples. I don't think they are dummies, they are following recipes and know what to do. All I'm saying is someone will step up.
 
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chilllucky

Lifer
Jul 15, 2018
1,160
2,988
Chicago, IL, USA
scoosa.com
John David and Quinn at The Country Squire are both under 40, for what it's worth.

I tend to agree that the larger problem going forward will be sourcing. Our "boutique" ingredients are really the leavings of the cigarette industry. The more spread out and less American that market gets, the more trouble stateside blenders will have with product consistency.