Briar pipes are made with the "root" of the white heath tree (Erica arborea). This shrub, which can reach four meters in height, grows all around the Mediterranean basin (Corsica, Italy, Algeria, Morocco, etc.).
In fact, only its burl root is used in pipe making. It is an outgrowth found between the foot of the bush and the roots, forming a hard, compact wood with a fine and close grain.
The Brotherhood of Master Pipe Makers of Saint-Claude is a non-profit association whose aims are:
- to unite the pipe manufacturers in the region of Saint-Claude,
- to organize events that promote the renown of the pipe and of Saint-Claude, France's mecca of briar pipes.
Each year, the Brotherhood conducts initiations of Fellow Pipe Makers, French or foreign, men or women, during three or four chapters including one extraordinary chapter during which the First French Pipe Smoker of the year is initiated. Membership is not restricted to manufacturers.