Valentine Gift Guide for Men
whether you (or your lover) are a valentine’s day enthusiast or not, these 9 gift ideas eschew the traditional tokens in favor of everlasting… quality




1.) Mühle Rose Gold Safety Razor

The safety razor: a classic, time-honored tool of gentlemen’s grooming. It takes a bit more care and attention to shave with one of these versus your standard disposable razor, but once he gets the hang of it, these are better in every way. The shave is closer and more precise, leaving clean, smooth skin and a sharp lineup. The blades are a fraction of the cost of disposable cartridges, and since they’re a simple slice of metal, nothing more, they avoid all that clunky cartridge-plastic going to landfill. And last but not least, since it’s constructed of solid stainless steel and a rose gold finish, one of these lookers will elevate his bathroom aesthetic forevermore as it develops patina with age.

Rose Gold Safety Razor, $72.00, made in Germany by Mühle

Mühle Rose Gold Safety Razor

2.) F.Hammann Zippered-Leather Manicure Set

Your man already has a safety razor? Well then, this is the next step. Whether he likes to believe it or not, a man’s hands speak volumes about him. No, we’re not talking size here, we’re talking fingernails! Whether he’s in the studio, the boardroom, or the bedroom, a man’s nails should be trimmed, filed, and clean. Help him keep those digits groomed with this leather clad travel set, also made in Germany. Crafted entirely of German materials, from metal to calfskin. Six tools tuck securely in a dark zippered pouch, making it easy to store inconspicuously atop his vanity, in a drawer, or in a Dopp kit.

Nickel Manicure Set, $120.00, made in Germany by F.Hammann




3.) Lajoie Summerville Billfold Wallet

Valentine’s Day has always been about the little details – secret tokens of adoration exchanged between lovers – and if it’s details he loves, then this wallet is guaranteed to please. Starting out as a single piece of Horween hide, edges and stitch holes are precisely laser-cut. Each wallet is then stitched together by hand, using beeswaxed twine, combining to form a supremely durable seam. Edges are hand-burnished for a clean, finished look and feel. All in all, this is one of the finest billfold wallets we’ve encountered, from materials to craftsmanship to design. Available in the Massachusetts exclusively at Craft & Caro.

Summerville Wallet, $159.00, made in Montreal, Canada by Lajoie

Lajoie Summerville Wallet

4.) LTHR Supply x Craft & Caro Leather Ruckpack

Your man already has a good wallet? Well then, on to bags! This leather rolltop is a simple yet eyecatching piece. Constructed of full-grain USA steerhide and heavy duty nylon straps, it has a single closure with a sturdy aluminum quick-release buckle. Continuous, adjustable shoulder straps ensure the right fit with no loose ends dangling about to get caught in subway doors or tangled in a bike wheel. The large, raw-interior rolltop panels make for extra stowage and multiple styling options. Made in Massachusetts exclusively for Craft & Caro, this limited edition design is rare enough that you’ll probably never run into someone else who has one – only 10 units of each color were produced.

The Ruckpack, $499.00, made in Boston by LTHR Supply x Craft & Caro




5.) Victorinox Limited Edition Soldier’s Knife

Unfortunately, as this guide was being written, the last of our Soldier’s Knives were sold. Being the 125th anniversary edition, only 1,884 units were made. Still sometimes-available on secondary markets like eBay (for a big premium) these knives are replicas of the original Swiss Army knife, the very first one manufactured for standard issue to Swiss soldiers in 1891. They are a shining example of heritage and craftsmanship, built to the exacting standards that have made Victorinox synonymous with quality for over 125 years. While we are indeed sold out of this limited edition, we do still have some excellent pocketknife choices available, like the beefy Swisschamp with hardwood handle, and the hammered sterling silver Classic SD. A man can never have too many knives, really.

Browse our selection of Victorinox pocket knives here, from $16.00 to $240.00

Metal Shop Bullet Pencils

6.) Schon DSGN #0001 Pen

Yet another essential tool of the gentlemans kit, a pen. Having become so accustomed to the throwaway norms of this modern day, many forget – or have never experienced – the pleasure of using a really good writing instrument. The flagship line of pens from local designer Ian Schon offers a great starting point for the uninitiated and a next step for the connoisseur alike. The pens form remains consistent throughout the line – each style is identical in design and function save for one feature: material, and more specifically, the shine and weight of that material. From the sleek 1.0oz aluminum to the warm and weighty 3.2oz bronze, each yields a different experience. Which pen is right for him – or you – depends highly on personal preference; some people like it heavy, others like it light. For those who aren’t sure of their preferences yet, we recommend a lighter weight to start off.

#0001 Pens, from $58.00 to $180.00, made in Massachusetts by Schon DSGN


7.) Metal Shop Bullet Pencil

One good writing utensil deserves another! This time, a pencil. The best-looking, most user-friendly pencil around. This design takes its queue from British soldiers during WWI, who were known for jamming pencil tips into spent shell casings to make writing with tiny pencils more comfortable. The Bullet Pencil augments that historical habit with a screw-tip that holds the pencil safely inside the tube when not in use, then flips around and screws back on the tube when needed. No more worries of skewering oneself through a pocket! With finishes in a range of materials and colors, this is the perfect tool for designers, students, and anyone who appreciates the undeniable utility of erasure. Pair it with one of these notebooks for a truly unique set.

Bullet Pencils, from $40.00 to $77.50, made in Connecticut by Metal Shop




8.) Jacob Bromwell Great American Flask

If your man enjoys his spirits, then he needs a flask. This design has remained unchanged since its original production in 1819, from the American birchwood stopper to pure copper body, hot-tinned interior, and soldered edges. A truly authentic example of American history, these pieces are made in USA and come with a lifetime guarantee. The gleaming copper exterior will tarnish quickly with use, gaining a unique patina and eventually turning that iconic green hue, but can also be polished up right back to its original luster. Keep his lips wet and his heart warm, whether you’re with him in body or spirit 😉

The Great American Flask, $198.00, made in USA by Jacob Bromwell

h/t to Bully Boy for being our favorite local distiller and nextdoor neighbor

Rob Roy 5th Avenue Throw

9.) Pendleton 5th Avenue Throw

Is there anything cozier than the warmth of lovers cocooned within a soft blanket? This is a gift that will keep on giving, to both of you. 100% merino wool is ultra soft and markedly warm, while also being lightweight, making this blanket a great choice for cuddling up on the couch or the beach. A three-inch fringe creates a homey formality that’s welcome in the living room, and the bold, simple Rob Roy Camel plaid leaves this blanket masculine enough for him to call it his own: possibly the perfect Valentine gift. And since it’s a Pendleton, it’s sure to last a for many date nights to come.

Rob Roy Camel 5th Avenue Throw, $149.00, made in Oregon by Pendleton Woolen Mills


Thank you for reading! Check out all of the above and many more carefully selected goods at

Filed Under: Gift Guides
Schon DSGN Pens in workshop

When you first see a Schon DSGN pen, you have to pick it up. The bare metal cylinder commands the landscape of a coffee table like a tiny monolith. A curiously pleasing screw action opens and closes the cap, an enticement for endless fiddling.

Depending on which metal yours is made from — aluminum, titanium, brass or bronze — the pen is either surprisingly light or formidably heavy. It looks like some mysterious James Bond accessory. Once uncapped, it looks like the Platonic model for all pens ever created, descended like a stray lightning bolt straight from the desk of Zeus.


Brass Schon DSGN Pen

There is something paradoxical about it. Perhaps it’s the simple yet stately design. Perhaps it’s the satisfying feel of solid metal in an item that is usually no more than a petrochemical trifle, destined for the wastebasket.

It is this ponderous pen, a favorite of our Work collection, that has brought us to the Schon DSGN studio today. But it turns out there is a lot more to this maker. Ian Schon is an engineer with some revolutionary ideas. His portfolio includes an impressive collection of retail products and machine parts that he has independently designed, prototyped, manufactured, and brought to market. He keeps production as local as possible, even when it means designing machine parts and processes to circumvent typical methods of mass production. This “systems level approach to product design” is his response to a retail world inundated with mediocre goods and dubious branding. Schon goes the hard route to prove a point — that integrity matters, even in something a basic as a pen. How radical.

Multicolored Anodized Aluminum Schon DSGN Pens


“I like to make ‘physical interaction designs’ that are interesting,” Schon tells us. His screwtop pen is a prime example. “I don’t want to make something and then just put it on a shelf.”

We are standing in Schon’s home studio, on a quiet, tree-lined street in Brookline, Massachusetts. This small but fruitful workshop is the vessel in which Schon sets out into uncharted territory again and again, designing his way from one step to the next. Myriad parts and prototypes — from watch faces to custom pen cartridges to unexplainable metal plates, diagrams and pieces he simply refers to as “bits” — cover most of the available surfaces in the room.

Schon digs through a series of drawers in his workshop, eventually pulling out a small box. Inside is his latest edition — hefty pens made from stainless steel.

“This is the new hotness,” says Schon with a smile. He is an engineer at play.

Maker Ian Schon


With his exuberant explanations and that confident grin, 26-year-old Schon gives the quirky impression of a boy genius. But he is no poindexter, mind you. Factor in the light-footed energy of a competitive cyclist, then add the keen gaze of an engineer who possesses a powerful raw intelligence, a command of his craft, and an unbridled creative spark. He is driven by a cause. When he talks about the challenges he faces as a maker dedicated to “Do It Yourself,” his passion nearly boils over.

Schon DSGN studio


A collection of artwork adorns the walls of Schon’s workshop, all of which speak to the dynamic forces at work in him. There are complex geometric patterns, which Schon programmed on his CNC machine as he was learning to use it. There are DIY flyers from various friends’ bands featuring original punk artwork. There’s a still-life drawing of a bicycle part, drawn by a tattoo artist friend. The crowning piece, mounted above his antique lathe, is a print of a laughing skull, wearing a bike cap that reads “Can’t Stop.” Below the skull, a banner that reads “Don’t Wanna” completes the sentiment.

Bike Banner


Indeed, Schon doesn’t ever seem to stop. During our two hour visit, he doesn’t sit down once, even though he has just biked here from across the Charles River. Not only is he eager to tell us about his work, he enthusiastically demonstrates various processes for us on the customized machines in his workshop.

Schon works on his entrepreneurial projects in his free time. He is able to fund many of his projects out of pocket. This is thanks to his “day job,” working as an engineer at Ideo, a global design firm located in Central Square, a hub of Boston’s tech scene. He cites this advantage as a huge privilege for a maker, one that he is grateful for. Schon seizes upon all of the opportunities his talents bring him to take a stand in the world of product design, pushing the limits of what it means for a brand to be authentic.

Schon DSGN pens


What does that mean exactly? Consider the pen. Schon needed a lathe to prototype his design. He had a hard time finding one, and no one would let him use theirs. Rightfully so, perhaps; he had no formal training. He was not enrolled in a metalworking class nor was he employed in a machine shop.

“No one would really teach me, so I kinda had to go on my own,” says Schon. “You’ve gotta be in the trenches to make innovation.”

He tracked down an antique industrial lathe on Craigslist, purchased it, and spent the summer restoring it. Then he learned to use it and began turning prototypes in his spare time. Eventually Schon would get more formal training at the scientific instruments facility at Boston University, but he was his own first teacher.

Ian Schon works on his lathe


“Let’s run a part on it, it’ll be fun,” says Schon. He fires up the lathe, which he approaches like a an old friend. In a room that includes powerful computerized manufacturing equipment and a large industrial metal press, the lathe seems almost quaint. He grabs a pen, explaining the finer points of polishing aluminum with red rouge over the din of the machine.

Polishing a pen


Schon’s final pen design was contingent on the condition that he would be able to produce every part of it with his own two hands. Hence, a metal cylinder with screw threads, which can be turned entirely on his lathe from raw stock. No internal spring action, and no pocket clip. A simple custom screw locks the cartridge in place. Nothing requires outsourcing of material, parts or labor.

Metal shavings and lathe


“People design themselves out of the equation,” Schon explains. His goal is to prevent what he considers an all-too-common phenomenon. Manufacturing methods and material choices are usually tailored to meet profit-driven, lowest-common-denominator industry standards. The archetypical example is the ubiquity of products that bear the phrase “Made in China.” For Schon, it’s a red letter that indicates a failure — a failure to prioritize local production, and to preserve the integrity of the product. It means the design has become an orphan in the world, reared not by it’s parent, but by strangers in a factory, far, far away.

“It’s hard for me when people say ‘made in Boston’ or ‘made in America’… what does it really mean ‘to make’, anymore?” he asks. “When I couldn’t produce [the pens] by myself anymore [due to increasing demand], it was about finding a way to produce them in America… and still capture the spirit of what I put into it.”

Ian Schon holding pens


This meant nailing down a production process that fit Schon’s final blueprint, his budget, and his ethos of keeping it locally and authentically made.

Eventually Schon found a Massachusetts shop that agreed to produce small-batch runs of his pens, in between runs of the high-volume products that sustain their business.

“They’ve got big machines to pay off, right? And I have to be respectful of that, I have to be respectful of their time, and make it work for both of us,” Schon explains.

Schon took the same “systems level approach” with his “certified slammed” bicycle part a few years back. The piece became its own brand, piggybacking off of a cyclist blog and creating its own micro-culture, all known by the moniker Slam That Stem.

Slam That Stem headset bearing covers

Photo courtesy of

The niche part is a result of Schon’s natural tendency to innovate. A common pain felt among competitive cyclists is a limitation in bicycle design. The issue lies with a minor piece called a headset bearing cover — a metal washer that seals the joint where the handlebars fit into the bike frame. It is crucial for keeping dust and debris out of the joint, which must remain accurately spaced, sealed and lubricated to perform properly.

A typical headset bearing cover is over an inch thick. For serious racers, who raise their seats high and crouch as low as possible over their handlebars, every millimeter counts. Schon designed a cover that is only 1.9 mm (or .075 in) thick, and weighs a less to boot. It’s the best option on the market for racers who want to get as low as possible (or “slammed,” according to the devotees) without an expensive custom alteration.

But once again, Schon hit a hurdle. He needed access to an industrial metal punch called an arbor press, fitted with a custom stamp, to produce his design. The stamp alone would cost him upwards of $15,000.

Ian Schon and his bike


“So how do you get around that?” Schon asks us. “You’ve gotta do that weird engineering thing, you’ve gotta make your own tool. Then you’ve gotta convince the stamper to put it in their machine. You can’t just design, and say ‘make this part’ — you have to find a way to make it, too.”

Schon tracked down an arbor press, purchased it, then learned how to use it. He went ahead and designed his own stamp for it, then made that, too. For three years, he used it to punch out the part by hand. Eventually, he found a machinist at a shop in Detroit who was willing to attach Schon’s stamp to one of their presses and stamp out Schon’s part in between shifts.

“That’s the only reason why [Slam That Stem] is able to exist,” says Schon, proudly standing next to his arbor press. He was able to sidestep a huge start-up cost, go into production, and keep the retail price at only $22, while maintaining full control of the project.

“That’s American ingenuity, that’s that special sauce, that’s what makes American makers special, because we’re scrappy as fuck, because we can just get in there, and figure out, and say ‘ok what’s the loophole? What’s the way that I’m gonna nail this?”

Ian Schon and watch faces


We arrive at the heart of Schon’s ethos when he reveals his latest project — handmade watches. Schon shows off the timepiece on his wrist — a handsome, simple design, noticeably unmarked by any logo or branding, just like his pens.

“This watch was made here,” he says with a gleam in his eye. “Like, in this room.”

Inspired to try his hand at making another “everyday use” item to follow his pens, Schon ordered a quartz watch on eBay, took it apart, and then reassembled it to see how it was built. Not long after he made his own watch case and a dial with a 3-D printer. It was only the beginning.

Watch faces on desk


“I wanted more, I wanted that tick, I wanted the mechanics,” says Schon. “What if I could make a watch entirely from scratch, I thought. So, I got to it.”

Schon reworked his case design to fit a mechanical watch movement (as opposed to quartz), so he could begin building the individual components. After three years of trial and error and many redesigns, (indeed, there are at least a dozen iterations of watch faces strewn over Schon’s work table), he began to arrive at a prototype that he would be capable of building.

“I created this watch and many more in between — many, many, many more in between,” he says. “I’ve just been diving super deep into this trying to figure out what I can make of it. I’m all over the map with how I create these.”

Each redesign required Schon to try new processes with his machines, particularly his CNC machine. Schon spent months writing the code to “draw” his watch case and other components on the computer.

CNC machine


“I had to develop the process,” he says. “There’s no book on it. You have to be really frickin’ creative and you have to use your engineering brain.” Once again, Schon had to design his own proprietary tool, this time for his CNC machine. He points out a custom mounting plate on the CNC table and asks us not to photograph it.

“It’s my special sauce,” Schon says with his grin.

Schon reiterates a that key element to maintaining control of the project is limiting the design to what is practical. Many watch design elements require specialized manufacturing that isn’t typically available in the States, or is otherwise cost-prohibitive, even for big companies. He points out certain details, like tiny, hair-thin sticks of metal decorating a commercially produced watch he has nearby, as examples of this kind of heedless design. Then he holds up his own watch face again to illustrate his point.

Watch face prototypes


“If you look at this watch… I have drilled dots [marking the hour] — because I know how to drill things. If you design with what you know, you can produce it and you can make the parts. And then your design lives — it makes it to market and it’s made in Massachusetts the way you ethically wanted to create it. You have to know your limits and your boundaries. The reason why [a company] says ‘oh it’s so hard to manufacture things in America’ is because [they’re] not thinking about it the right way.”

Schon explains that the watch world is enormous, full of behemoth companies, generating millions and millions of dollars a year in revenue. A lot of that revenue is based on brand image and stance, but not much scrutiny is given to the actual manufacturing behind that identity, at least not enough, according to Schon. He cites a prominent American watch company, who proudly boasts “made in America,” as an example. At best, he explains, they are simply assembling their designs Stateside, but not actually making the components.

Ian Schon and Paul Jackmauh


“They have the value I have, from a marketing standpoint, right, but not the guts. They’re not actually making it. You’re paying for marketing, and that’s sad, that’s something that hurts me, as someone who cares about goods,” says Schon. “This watch thing is an exercise — to say ‘dudes, you can make it in America, but you don’t want to, because it’s hard.’ …If you’re crafty about the design, you can produce it in America. And that’s where I’m at.” For him, the watch project is a social statement, a challenge to the status-quo.

“I just want to be there to set an example. I love competition. I want to encourage other makers to think that way, because it just strengthens their brand.”



Watch faces on desk

Schon plans to have ten finished watch prototypes — all already at various stages of completion here in his workshop — by December. Rather than hastening his design to the production stage for the sake of efficacy, Schon is focusing on completing a design that he is capable of producing himself, that he will be able to scale up locally.

“You’ve gotta be so clever to do it. You don’t have a ton of money, you don’t have a ton of scale, so you’ve gotta get really creative, you’ve gotta do stuff like this, like have a little factory where you’re doing one-offs in your house. It’s a blast.”

On our way out, Schon leads us outside to show us one of his earliest and dearest projects — his bicycle. To build it, Schon apprenticed with some bike makers in Baltimore, learned to use a brazing torch, then purchased his own. He designed and assembled custom tubing blocks to build on, then built his bike. What a surprise. It bears his personal lightning bolt “logo.” He handles it with the same affectionate touch as his lathe.

Ian Schon and bike


“I’m here to inspire, that’s the only reason I did this,” Schon says with another smile.

It is most certainly inspiring. We came here to learn about his pens, but it feels like we’ve just taken a whole curriculum in product design, engineering, industrial manufacturing and anti-establishment maker-activism. Schon is his own one-man production firm, on a mission, designing his way through uncharted territory. He seems to be having a lot of fun doing it.

Schon DSGN pen, watch, and bike


Check out Schon DSGN pens here!

Filed Under: Boston, Work
Summer Beer Review Beers

Finally. Summer. The season that beer was made for. We’ve got the beers that were made for the season. Whether you’re enjoying one (or two) on the couch, the deck, the dock, the boat, the trail or the ballpark, there is no better time of year for a nice cold brew. Here are a few of our personal recommendations. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Today’s magical, burgeoning craft beer world offers more brews and flavors than we could ever hope to quaff in one summer. We do have other things to do, believe it or not. So be sure to do some exploring on your own, too… Here’s to summer!!


Victory Summer Love

Victory Summer Love beer

The crew at Victory nailed this one. A light and delightful summer ale. European noble hops provide a gentle and earthy hop profile, pleasantly balanced with clean, crisp German malt. A little grassy, a little citrusy, this beer is mellow and refreshing, like a sunny afternoon in the backyard. The addition of whole flower Simcoe and Citra hops adds a notable lemony zing at the end. Perfect for afternoon sipping at the beach or in the park.

Downingtown, PA 5.2%

Pairs with: Sumac-herbed chicken, pan-fried whitefish, fried clams, coleslaw, potato salad, garden salads and corn on the cob.


Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

Racer 5 IPA

This brew has been winning gold medals since 1997, which in craft beer years is ancient history. Amber-gold, medium bodied, sporting a crisp, almost crunchy carbonation. Columbus and Cascade hops abound in each sip, repping the Pacific Northwest terroir. Pine and citrus notes dominate, dancing across a robust, grainy malt foundation. Touches of fruit, grass and caramel snap along from the sidelines. Refreshingly bitter and full-flavored, but not overpowering. Because summer is too short for anything less.

Healdsburg, CA 7.5%

Pairs with: Barbecue all day — chicken (get some char on there!), burgers, steak tips, sausage, wings, beef shish kebabs, grilled poblanos, as well as robust snacks like cheese fries, pizza and nachos.


Bent Water Thunder Funk IPA

Bent Water Thunder Funk IPA

Straight from the tanks of the newest brewery on Boston’s North Shore. Burnt orange in color, this malt-bomb IPA is loaded with jolly tropical fruit notes like mango, stewed orange, ripe pineapple and key lime. The big malt bill adds a toasty, honey-sweet booziness. Herbal and citrus notes flit around the edges of the aroma and flavor.

What sets this brew apart is a notable lack of bitterness to counter all that hop and malt sweetness. It’s unusual for an IPA, to be sure. Some will say the guys at Bent Water missed the mark here, but we argue that they have pioneered a new genre – the malt-forward IPA! Perfect for those who love big, IPA-sized flavor but don’t like bitter.

Cheers to these guys, we can’t wait to see what they do next!

Lynn, MA 7.3%

Pairs with: Chicken Salad, grilled cheese, lamb shish kebabs, grilled swordfish and tuna (especially served with chutney), fish tacos, pork chops, lamb chops, potato chips, sorbet, fruit salad.

Port Wipeout IPA

Port Wipeout IPA

An exemplary West Coast IPA. Dry, bitter, grassy, pithy, and a little floral. The nose is warm, fresh and green, like a sunny hill in Santa Barbara. Each citrusy sip is fresh like ocean spray in Monterey. You’ll catch hints of fruit popping up here and there, too. The brew finishes dry and light for such a full-flavored West Coast IPA. Sips almost like a brut Champagne, but with shaggy hair and sunglasses. Surf’s up!

San Marcos, CA 7.5%

Pairs with: Grilled or fried fish, roasted or barbecued game birds (duck, quail, cornish hen or pheasant), wings, sausage or kielbasa on a roll with grilled peppers and onions, pasta dishes dressed in an oil-based sauce, pizza and flatbreads, and quinoa salad.


Bass Ale

Bass Ale

Here we have a beer with true heritage. First brewed in England in 1777, Bass Ale lays claim to the world’s oldest trademark. That iconic red triangle has been featured in paintings by Picasso and Manet, and in James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was also served on the Titanic (talk about ice cold beer!). While the company’s ownership has changed hands and forms over the years, the recipe has survived.

This Old World brew greets the thirsty reveler with mellow caramel, vanilla, herbal and earthy notes. Noble hops and English malt keep it subtle and balanced, with a bit of toastiness. However we were surprised to discover hints of orange and even melon when we allowed it to open up a bit in a glass! All around an easy-to-like beer, right down the middle of the plate.

Staffordshire, England, 5.1%

Pairs with: Fried things — fish and chips, fried fish sandwiches, fried clams, crab cakes, falafel, samosas, as well as hot buttered lobster rolls (toast that bun!), roasted or barbecued chicken, roasted peanuts and buttered popcorn. Makes a great beer batter base too!


Boulevard Brewing Love Child #7

Boulevard Brewing Love Child

Because summer is about getting weird, wild and funky. The Love Child series features barrel-aged wild ales fermented with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. This latest rendition is tight, tannic and quite tart. We’re talking tart like biting into a lemon — one that was aged in an oak barrel alongside sour cherries, crabapples and wild blackberries, all of which come through in the sip. The big, feral tartness and wild fruit notes are backed by a faint but reliable woody yeast funk. A slight mustiness, fragrant cherries and fresh lemongrass come through on the nose.

This brew has a thin head that dissipates quickly, but it remains effervescent to the end, with a persistent strings of carbonation rising from the glass like prosecco. In fact, the mouthfeel and overall sipping experience is similar to bubbly — light, dry and crisp. Despite the definite fruit notes, there is very little sweetness here. The result is a fireworks display for your tastebuds. Pucker up.

Kansas City, Missouri, 8.2%

Pairs with: Panko crusted chicken, fish and chips, grilled catfish and swordfish, low-spice thai noodle dishes (especially ones prepared with lemongrass), chicken marsala, aged hard cheeses such as Manchego, Gruyere and Asiago, and cherry pie.

Port Brewing bottle cap

Craft & Caro logo and nylon strap

Evolution is the process by which a species adapts to its environment, in order to thrive. It happens in small steps. It is catalyzed by chance. Each successful variation endows a lucky creature with new or improved abilities, ensuring the strength and endurance of its line. Homo Sapiens is subject to this natural progression, of course, but there is something that sets us apart.

Woman with wings manufactured for human flight

For some time now, we have had the distinct pleasure of playing a role in our own evolution, thanks to our unique creative faculties. We call this kind of progress innovation. Innovation is the means by which we adapt the world to our needs, in order to thrive. It also happens in small steps. It is catalyzed by inspiration.

Vintage flying invention

Innovation is what sets us apart from the other evolvers. It is what makes us human. We get a chance to impart our ideas, our values, our tastes, and our aesthetics into our very existence. We get to stand back, square up the canvas in our sights, and contribute our own brushstrokes, even as we live them.

Our deeper values, what we might call spiritual aesthetics, inform how we choose to live. They are reflected in those brushstrokes — in all the subtle ways that we manifest beauty, elegance, and refinement in ourselves each day.

True style is borne by the graceful fusion of utility — dictated by the practical requirements of evolution — and beauty — that more elusive sense of what pleases the spirit. The care we put into crafting ourselves evinces the grace that resonates within each of us. It is how we share ourselves with the world, and in doing so, we uplift each other.

Closeup of Nylon strap of Craft & Caro leather ruckpack

That’s why we do what we do at Craft & Caro. We celebrate creativity. We cheer on the people who nudge us forward with each new innovation. We see style as something that is part and parcel of good design and good workmanship. We seek out the choicest fruits of the artisan world, according to our own heartfelt aesthetic, and collect them in our stockroom. The items we choose share the virtue of innovation, whether they are classic or cutting edge.

 Top front of leather bag

So far, this has been our contribution to the cause. Today, however, marks the genesis of something much bigger for us.

For once, we have had the opportunity to stand at the drafting board and determine exactly what shape inspiration will take. We are quite excited to announce Craft & Caro’s first ever collaborative product. 

LTHR Supply x Craft & Caro ruckpack in Bourbon


In partnership with our talented friends at LTHR Supply, we proudly present The Ruckpack.


We teamed up with Jeremy Szechenyi and Travis Tyler, the makers behind LTHR Supply, to collaborate on the new model, based on their classic Rucksack. After no small amount of consideration, we arrived at something that we are proud to put our names on.

The Ruckpack takes into account the practical demands of everyday use, and shines as an example of the subtle panache that has come to characterize our company. This is an everyday bag, to be sure, but a bit more distinguished — sophisticated, simple, durably built and enduringly stylish.

Side view of Craft & Caro Ruckpack rolltop

This redesign is all about the details. It is in the details that you will find those very sparks of inspiration that excite the senses.

We chose softer leather for a more luxurious feel. The edges of the rolltop are unstitched and unfinished, allowing for increased flexibility and more casual styling. Eventually, the raw leather edges will develop their own unique patina.

Backside of Craft & Caro leather Ruckpack

High-quality nylon straps, designed to stand up to long-term stress, replaced the leather ones. They feature a slide loop instead of a belt buckle system, allowing for continuous adjustment. The design does away with loose strap ends for a cleaner look and function. They’re stitched right into the bag, instead of being fastened with a lot of metal hardware.

Backside of leather ruckpack

Overall, the bag has fewer structural rivets and more stitching. The remaining rivets and fittings are made of aluminum instead of stainless steel. The result is a lighter, more comfortable pack. The bag also has an increased capacity, making it ideal for the urban commuter, the casual outdoorsman, or the thrifty vacationer. The minimalist design makes for a wonderfully simple functionality.

LTHR Supply x Craft & Caro leather patch

To commemorate the series, each bag bears a handsome, manually-stamped leather patch, featuring the respective LTHR Supply and Craft & Caro labels, as well as our collaborative tagline, “everyday goods, timeless designs.”

This first limited run comes in two colors, Bourbon and Walnut. And of course, every single component, from the full-grain steer hide and the bonded nylon stitching, to the aluminum clips and rivets, was produced in the USA. The Ruckpack was designed and assembled with pride in Boston, Massachusetts.

Leather ruckpacks by Craft & Caro

Thank you for giving us a chance to share this little moment of evolution. We will continue to step forward, to inspire and be inspired, and to champion the work of makers across the globe. Their workshops are where the magic is happening. Our collective passion for progress is what keeps them at it. Here’s to much, much more.

Vintage Jet Pack man

Check out the Ruckpack here!

Filed Under: Boston, New Products, News, Travel

Father’s Day. It’s the holiday we were born to curate. Our vast selection of keepsakes and treasures will help you give Dad a truly standout gift. Here are a dozen highlights from the Craft & Caro stockroom that are sure to inspire you. 


Manicure set, Cologne, and Shaving set

1.) F. Hammann Stainless Steel Manicure Set

F. Hammann Leathergoods has been making world-class items since 1864. Five generations of the Hammann family have maintained a standard of excellence that defines their brand. Production is still carried out entirely on-location in Offenbach, Germany. The company processes its own leather, using only all-natural tanning agents. This handsome manicure set is complete, compact, and built to last a lifetime. The Eschenburg tools inside it are made with precision, for precision performance, year after year. $162

2.) MCMC Dude No. 1 Cologne

MCMC Fragrances makes all-natural perfumes and colognes in Brooklyn, NY. Founder Anne McClain studied aromatherapy and then perfumery in Grasse, France. Anne and her sister Katie oversee the manual production of each heavenly fragrance in their line. Dude No. 1 is a refreshing take on the masculine essence. A deep base of sandalwood, Virginia cedarwood and Haitian vetiver mixes with Moroccan rose, spicy ginger and pink peppercorn. Fresh, exotic, and seductive, for the James Bond in every dad. $75

3.) Mühle Sophist Buffalo Horn Shaving Set

These masters of heirloom-quality shaving accessories broke ground in Saxony, Germany at the conclusion of World War II. Over the decades, their commitment to excellence has endured and grown along with them. This gorgeous set is a gift Dad will cherish for the rest of his life. Beautiful, hand-turned buffalo horn and corrosion resistant chrome are painstakingly finished with a high-gloss polish. Famously soft silvertip badger hair makes the perfect lather every time, for a luxurious start to the day. A classic set of tools for the man who deserves the very best. $505



Frost River Bag

 4.) Frost River Overland Valise Weekender

Frost River makes beautiful, adventure-ready bags in Duluth, Minnesota. Their vintage style and high-quality construction are inspired by the trail blazers, prospectors and craftsmen who first explored the Northern Wilderness. In honor of that bygone era, Frost River’s methods and materials adhere to traditional production values. Each bag is made carefully from Martexin waxed canvas from New Jersey, quality leather from SB Foot Tannery in Minnesota, and finished with solid brass hardware. The Overland Valise Weekender is a ruggedly handsome, hardworking, sophisticated travel companion that you can count on to haul more than its fair share of the load. Sound like someone you know? $300

Leather wallet and Bottle opener key shackle

5.) American Bench Craft Hammer Riveted Wallet

Brothers Jason and Chris founded American Bench Craft in 2014, to honor “the heritage of [their] grandfathers and the products they relied on.” Every American Bench Craft product is made by hand with manually-powered machines and tools in their home workshop. The Hammer Riveted Leather Wallet is the flagship design on which they ran their Kickstarter campaign. Each wallet is made from a single piece of high-quality, naturally dyed leather that is folded and riveted, not stitched together, for unmatched durability and longevity. A sharp-looking, simple wallet that Dad can count on. $74

6.) Metal Shop Key Shackle Bottle Opener

Possibly the ultimate Dad gift. Simple to use, always handy for popping your favorite bottle, and entirely manly. Hand-machined from raw 304 Stainless Steel and then hand-finished, each Key Shackle opener bares unique production marks. Jon Fontane started Metal Shop in 2013 to honor the memory of his grandfather’s New Jersey machine shop. He eschews modern mass-production practices, and designs thoughtful, unique items, meant to honor authentic craftsmanship. He works out of his studio in Connecticut, in partnership with a collective of small, family-run machine shops. $45



Fisher Space Pen, Bull & Stash leather notebook and Almanac Industries Blueprint cards

7.) Almanac Industries Blueprint Notecards

Husband and wife team Jacob and Whitney Cecil make their exquisite stationery one sheet at a time on their antique letterpress. They find joy in all things old fashioned, including attentive craftsmanship. These classic cards are no exception to their efforts. Their Blueprint series features nautical images and diagrams, including boats, rope knots and lighthouses. Each set includes fifteen heavyweight cards, hand-stamped with your image of choice. Whether Dad is the sender or the recipient, he is sure to appreciate the extra touch that these elegant cards add to the occasion. $32

8.) Fisher Original AG7 Astronaut Space Pen

Probably the coolest pen in the solar system. This is the original Space Pen, designed for use by astronauts and tested by NASA. It accompanied the crew of Apollo 7 into space in 1968 and has been used on every American space flight since, including the first moon landing. The design has never changed. The AG7 is uncannily satisfying to use. Solid chrome-plated brass and steel components lend a healthy weight to the pen. The action on the click mechanism is fluid and substantial, an homage to classic analog mechanics, akin to the pleasure of using an antique cash register or cable clutch. Fisher’s proprietary pressurized ink cartridge ensures a smooth flow, flouting all atmospheric and gravitational conditions. Proudly made in the USA, for every boy, young and old, who still wants to be an astronaut. $50

9.) Bull & Stash Leather Notebook

Oregon-based Bull & Stash is new to the world, but their rugged notebooks are destined to be classics. A staple of the Craft & Caro selection, each notebook is made from a single piece of naturally dyed leather from free-range American cows, hand-finished at a family-run tannery in Santa Croce, Italy. The thick, oiled leather forms a flexible, spine-free, water-resistant cover. The refillable paper pad is held in place with two aluminum screws, for added durability and easy replacement. Every Bull & Stash will develop a distinguished patina over the years, each as unique and personal as the writing inside. A wonderful example of an everyday item elevated by imaginitive design. $5-$50


Flask, copper shot glasses and Sportes log stove

10.) Beier-Lederwaren Ostrich Finish Steel Flask

Another standard-bearer of fine German design, Beier-Lederwaren has been manufacturing high-quality accessories since 1922. Their stainless steel flasks are built to last a lifetime. While we carry an extensive selection of Beier-Lederwaren flasks, this particular one is our favorite. Rich cow leather, expertly finished to resemble exotic ostrich hide, lends a classic, debonair look to this little heirloom. Give Dad a touch of European flair. $89

11.) Jacob Bromwell Old West Copper Shot Glasses

Jacob Bromwell has been making iconic American goods since 1819. Their first Cincinnati factory opened to supply westbound settlers with the necessities of life on the frontier. Every heirloom item is made by hand in America, from materials sourced in America. These copper shot glasses are hot-tinned according to Jacob Bromwell’s proprietary method, making them the real thing, not just ornamental replicas. Worthy of the likes of Wayne, Eastwood and Bronson. Sure to add a touch of style to Dad’s bar. Maybe he’ll even break out some of the good stuff for you. $150

12.) Sportes MITI Swedish Log Stove

For the dad who loves the outdoors, even the one who thinks he has all the gadgets he will ever need to answer the call of the wild. MITI means “log” in the tongue of the aboriginal people native to Quebec, where Sportes is located. Their ingenious Log Stove is designed to perfect a concept developed by the Swedish Army in the 1600’s. Simply quarter a medium-sized log, stand the four pieces up, then position the Log Stove on top. Lock it into place with the included spikes. Suddenly a few pieces of timber have become a stable stove, complete with cooktop and steady burn temperature. Adjust the spacing between the logs to raise or lower temperature. Pretty cool, right? Dad will think so too. (Rib eye not included.) $65

Filed Under: Events, Gift Guides, Groom, Relax, Travel, Work