On the side of all of our products we say, “Write or visit us at 60 Ship St., Providence, RI 02903”. Every day we have fans, friends, and neighbors come by armed with their ‘Gansett stories and memorabilia that they cannot wait to share with us. Every story is different and new, and it’s a great way for us to learn more about where we’ve come from.
A few months ago, Walter Croft walked through the door with a large canvas bag, a southern accent that fit quietly behind many years of New England living, and a smile from ear to ear. We chatted a bit about ‘Gansett’s history, and walked around our quaint office, watching him take in the decades of ads and artwork that hang on our walls.
After a few moments of taking in the prices for beer in the 1940’s from an antique tin sign above our printer, Walter turned about-face and with the widest smile yet said, “Well, I’d like to show you something.” For us, this usually means a vintage sign, an old photograph, or a piece of memorabilia that they’d like to share with us. Walter placed his canvas bag on a table and slowly pulled out, one by one, these beautifully hand carved, detailed, and painted replicas of almost every can and bottle design that we have released since 2005. Each piece was to size and weight of the real thing, so it took all of us a few moments to realize what it was that we were actually holding.
We soon learned that Walter, a retired carpenter, sets out to replicate items from iconic New England brands and sports teams. Each item is hand-turned on his lathe. He then carves, burns, and paints each by hand. The detail and time spent to produce each piece is simply unfathomable.
Walter later invited us back to his shop where he displayed an exact replica of Tedy Bruschi’s Patiot’s helmet, baseball mitts, balls of all kinds, and even a replica of former Celtic, Paul Pierce’s shoes (inside and out), which even when touching we couldn’t tell that they were made from wood. It completely toyed with our perception of reality.
What stunned our team the most was that Walter has never really displayed his work publicly. What he makes, he makes for himself and for his family to remember him by when he passes.
Walter is a kind, noble, loving person who continues to hone his craft and push himself to perfection even in retirement. If that’s not Made On Honor, nothing is.