Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Balvenie and Dario Franchitti Launch 2014 Rare Craft Collection

From our friends at The Balvenie...

Racing Legend to Curate Collection Showcasing American Craftspeople in Nine Cities This Fall

The world’s most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, The Balvenie, in collaboration with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and native Scotsman Dario Franchitti is celebrating some of the best examples of American craftsmanship with their 2nd Annual Rare Craft Collection. The Rare Craft Collection is a gallery-style exhibition featuring original works from some of America’s finest craftspeople which this year includes a handmade coffee table built with gears from a Chip Ganassi Team race car, specially crafted bagpipes and surfboards. Franchitti’s selections follow the highly successful 2013 Collection, which was curated by award-winning menswear designer Todd Snyder.

To help curate the Collection, Franchitti selected a first-class group of artisans to represent the hundreds of craftspeople The Balvenie has met throughout their years of dedication to handcrafted goods.Throughout my career in motor racing, I’ve always held great admiration for the craftspeople responsible for building—by hand—the incredible cars I’ve had the great fortune to drive. Craftsmanship, in all its forms, is a huge passion of mine and when I was asked to curate the 2014 Rare Craft Collection with my friends at The Balvenie, I couldn’t wait to get started.” Dario’s collection will be presented in the following nine cities across the US:

•  Carmel, CA - August 13-17

•  Los Angeles, CA - August 26-27

•  Seattle, WA - September 9-10

•  Austin, TX - September 16-17

•  Chicago, IL - September 30 - October 1

•  Boston, MA - October 7-8

•  Washington, DC - October 21-22

•  New York, NY - November 17-22

•  Aspen, CO - December 5-7

“Dario has been a longtime friend of The Balvenie and we are thrilled to officially welcome him to the family. His spirit and excitement for carefully crafted goods shines through in his dedication to racing and his attention to precision,” stated Andrew Weir, US Senior Brand Manager for The Balvenie. “As the only single malt Scotch whisky to retain complete control over the five rare crafts that go into the production of its acclaimed single malt, The Balvenie has a kinship with artisans who still ply their craft according to traditional practices.”

Scotland native Dario Franchitti has an impressive 265 starts under his belt in IndyCar racing resulting in 31 wins, 33 poles, 119 top-five and 167 top-10 finishes. He is a three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner and a four-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion. “When crafted well, an automobile truly is a piece of art. That fine-tuning can be applied to so many crafts, and it is The Balvenie’s appreciation and support of local crafts, craftspeople, and movements that has always impressed me,” said Franchitti.

A sample of the craftspeople to be featured in the Rare Craft Collection include:

•  Julian Halpern of Steelhead Studios in Holyoke, Massachusetts, specializes in creating custom furniture and architectural elements, demonstrating innovative ways to utilize steel by combining it with a variety of elemental materials. Steelhead Studios was founded in a former paper mill called the Canal Gallery Building. The old mills and factories that line Holyoke's canals express the rich industrial history of the city. Working in this environment has influenced and inspired the development of Steelhead Studios.

•  J.P. Canlis of Canlis Glass in Seattle, Washington, emerged early through the art of glassblowing. Established in 1996, JP launched his own glass art business, following years of technical and conceptual development. Today, he focuses on creating one-of-a-kind hand blown or sculpted works of art from his studio with the support of his wife, Leigh, who runs their business.

•  Ubaldo Vitali, a fourth-generation silversmith in Newark, New Jersey, has gained extensive knowledge in both historic and modern metalworking techniques. He was born and raised in Italy and moved to the US in 1967. Vitali creates new works using historic techniques, restores old metalwork, and promotes the preservation of historic collections.

•  Scott Baxendal of Baxendale Guitars in Athens Georgia, began building custom guitars in 1974. Since then, he has created instruments for the world’s top musicians, restored vintage guitars for museums and private collections. His skills extend to teaching the craft of lutherie to a new a generation at his shop, Baxendale Guitar, which he opened in Athens in 2013.

RSVP to join us as we savor rare whiskies from The Balvenie distillery and raise our glasses to the men and women who continue to express their respective crafts the old way - the right way - the handcrafted way.

Visit to RSVP and learn more.