E&C History Part 2

Part 2…Creating Elephant & Castle

When Ken ran down a list of blends no longer being made, a light bulb clicked on over our heads. Well we thought…if they aren't makin'em why don't we?
Good idea. The tough part was deciding which to include. We went wild and had something like 22 Virginias and 31 English after the first round. A bit unmanageable.
The line finally ended up balanced with 3 Virginia and 3 English. It had taken months of transatlantic (pre e-mail) communication, several visits and a fair amount of debate, but we were now ready to blend - almost!
Blue Mosque fine cut Turkish cigarette tobacco was added bringing the line to seven.
We feared the manufacturing would be even more time consuming, but we were wrong. McConnell had produced virtually every London tobacco over the years, and where the blends were completely new, such as The Stout and Deerstalker, Ken hit the nail on the head the first or second time. Believe me, it's great working with the best!
While Ken busied himself with the production aspects of the new line - while still producing all the Rattray's, McConnells and a few dozen more brands - the importers searched for a name.
Out came a map of the London Underground, a source of inspiration some years earlier. (Marble Arch is a stop on the Central Line). So many names, but there…at the juncture of the Bakerloo and Northern Lines…just what we wanted: Elephant & Castle.
In later years, when asked why Elephant & Castle, we'd often answer, "Because
23rd Street & Ely Avenue didn't sound as nice." This is a stop on the New York City Subway, but we're from NYC so waddya expect?
Next we needed an artist to design and layout the label, and as is often the case, we found our man by chance. We'd wanted to put our company's name on the door in gold leaf - classy. One name kept popping up every time we inquired, so we made an appointment to meet this fellow and upon entering the studio, we realized this was our guy! We never got the door lettered, but we were plenty pleased with what we did get.
The E&C name gave us the idea for the label, and we'd already decided to use colors, like Dobies with their 4 Square line, as opposed to different images for each mixture.
We saw the first draft of the label and decided it was perfect. The artist wanted to "clean it up" with a "finished" version but we yelled, "No…you might ruin it!" So that's how it stayed, that is until we realized we had a great London made tobacco, and it didn't say London anywhere on the label! He added it at the bottom edge of the elephant's blanket, and also threw in some doodles and scribbles. It's a bit like a Hershfeld drawing, and some are hard to see on the printed label. Artists?!?

 on to Part 3…Selling Elephant & Castle








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