For the past few years, Victoria has searched the country for U.S. metal manufacturers that would be able to manufacture new barware pieces that she is seeking to design for the home bar. While there were plenty of leads, she would rule out many of these manufacturers for various reasons: the type of steel used was not appropriate for food handling; certain manufacturers did not have the right tooling in-house to manufacture products; or, most significantly, the cost of creating the proposed metal pieces in America was too high (even more so with the new tariff restrictions placed on certain metals in the U.S.).
Her biggest concern was to create a top quality product that would also be affordable for MHB's customers. In addition, Victoria was determined to create a local community of U.S. makers that she could work with and who could convey the heart behind her projects. Victoria feels strongly, to the extent possible, about having new barware products Made in America. Not only does this follow her passion for keeping Americans at work, but it follows a major historical component of barware: most barware designed and produced during the 20th Century was originally Made in America. It was not until that later part of the 20th Century that barware items became more uniform and were mass produced overseas (which forced many of our U.S. factories to shut down as they were facing competition that produced cheaper but lower quality barware products).
This past July, Victoria was finally hopeful with a new lead she had discovered. She and I traveled from Old Town Alexandria up north to visit a potential metal fabrication factory. We had a lot of ideas and big hearts to share with the potential creative partner.
With many manufacturers unable to help, we began to share our vision with our guide Bill, who has been working in metal manufacturing for decades. As we went through various vintage barware items from Victoria's private collection that she is seeking to re-design in a new fashion, we were surprised and delighted to hear that he believed his company could help us out. Finally, the proverbial "door" was starting to open.
We were interested in seeing the potential of the factory's manufacturing capabilities. Bill showed us around and inspired us with all the tooling equipment he had on location. We finally realized that we had many possibilities for producing a variety of stainless steel items, all that could be designed to our liking and, more importantly, carry the label "Made in America". With over 50 employees, we would also be doing our small part to help keep American jobs at home.
After many emails and prototypes, we finally developed our first high quality tumbled stainless steel piece of barware that carries the Made in America label. It is our "I Only Have Ice For You" ice tong that is based on a vintage piece from Victoria's collection. This ice tong stands at attention and we are absolutely thrilled with its quality, design and functionality! This is an exciting step for all of us on the MHB team. We can't wait to produce more barware items to help you continue on your Modern Home Bar journey.
I Only Have Ice For You