May 2, 2014 (Miami, Fla.) — Drew Estate and Tsuge Pipe Company Ltd. have announced a new strategic alliance between the two companies with news that Drew Estate will become the exclusive distributor of Tsuge in the United States and Canada. Drew Estate will begin selling the Tsuge line at the 2014 IPCPR show in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 2014. Drew Estate entered the pipe market by releasing a line of custom pipe tobacco blends at the 2013 IPCPR tradeshow, and this new announcement stands to cement their involvement in the premium pipe and pipe tobacco market.

Started in 1936 by Kyoichiro Tsuge, Tsuge Pipe Company and the Tsuge family have a rich history  of craftsmanship. Prior to making pipes, the Tsuge family were Samurai swordsmiths for hundreds of years. Kyoichiro Tsuge started making pipes around the turn of the century and, as a company, Tsuge has mastered the art of pipe making. Tsuge draws from the traditions of Italian and Danish pipe makers, having trained with world-renowned pipe maker Sixten Ivarrson, and has added unique touches of Japanese artisanship along the way.

Tsuge is best known for their renowned “Ikebana” line of handcrafted briar pipes. The “Ikebana” collection features Tsuge’s highest quality work, retailing for up to multiple thousands of dollars. Tsuge is also known for their machine-made line of briar pipes, which features unique shapes and metals. This portion of Tsuge’s pipe collection is a more affordable option compared to the “Ikebana” line.

When reached for comment, Drew Estate president Michael Cellucci stated, “I have been a fan of Tsuge’s incredible pipes for many years. We approached Tsuge about distributing their pipes in the United States and Canada, and they were receptive of the idea. Drew Estate’s efforts in the pipe tobacco market have proved to be successful, and we hope to channel this success into representing the Tsuge brand in the United States and Canada.”

Jonathan Drew, co-founder of Drew Estate, commented from his Miami office: “One of the most honored moments of my life was when Sab Tsuge, president of Tsuge, came to our third meeting in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan dressed in a formal black kimono and accepted our proposed deal to grow the Tsuge brand in North America together.

Mario Takeyama, Executive Director of Drew Estate Solution Lab and Head of Marketing, my dad ‘Bait Fish Gary’, and I shared a unique experience of eating a loach fish together with Sab Tsuge, Hiro Mitsui, Lars Ivarrson, his daughter, Nanna Ivarrson, and 10 of Tsuge’s top Japanese resellers at Komagata Dojo restaurant in old downtown Tokyo. We listened to stories and history; Mario Takeyama’s family is from Asakusa town where Tsuge has their factory and headquarters. The bond between Mario and Sab Tsuge was evident throughout all of our meetings and illustrates the global direction of Drew Estate.”

Drew Estate representatives will be stationed at the Tsuge booth at the upcoming Chicago Pipe Show, being held at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois on May 3rd and 4th, 2014.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.