These Shoes are Made for Drinking: Behind the Scenes With Basil Hayden’s and Quoddy

Contributor
From www.justluxe.com, by Jared Paul Stern
These Shoes are Made for Drinking: Behind the Scenes With Basil Hayden’s and Quoddy

Most men of style are into all aspects of living well, and that includes fine spirits. The best of both worlds have come together in a cool new collaboration from two storied American stalwarts: the bourbon purveyor Basil Hayden’s and fine shoemaker Quoddy. The result is a limited-edition gift set being released just in time for the holidays via Huckberry, a curator and retailer of products that “inspire active, adventurous and stylish lives.”

The gift set, of which only 100 are being made, are centered on a pair of custom, made-to-order Basil Hayden’s + Quoddy shoes. Horween leather in a rich whiskey hue is used throughout the set, from the shoes to the four rocks glasses that have been wrapped in the hand-stitched material. Everything is even packaged in a leather box and exclusively available for purchase at Huckberry’s Basil Hayden's Holiday Shop for $399. 

Basil Hayden's + Quoddy shoesPhoto Credit: Jared Paul Stern

Also available for sale in the virtual shop is a selection of American-made barware items carefully selected by Basil Hayden's “Cultural Bloodhound,” Max Wastler, an expert on American style and craftsmanship who brought the two brands together. We recently met up with Wastler and a few other stylish gents, including Jack Archer of Airows and Jon Moy of Four Pins, in Maine to sample some Basil Hayden’s and see the Quoddy factory in action. 

The adventure began with a special dinner at one of the country’s best restaurants, Fore Street in Portland, Maine’s Old Port. Dedicated to locally-sourced food, it’s housed in an old brick army depot overlooking the wharf. Thanks to the open kitchen, diners can watch their meat and fish being spit-roasted and wood-charred to perfection by Sam Hayward, named Best Chef in the Northeast a few years back by the James Beard Foundation. 

Basil Hayden's + Quoddy shoesPhoto Credit: Jared Paul Stern

The next morning we traveled to the Quoddy factory in Lewiston, where owner Kevin Shorey showed us around the shop floor and taught us how each phase of the company’s time-honored shoemaking process works. With 10 steps in all, the method includes cutting the leather, stitching and “cooking” the shoe, final lacing and finishing.

All of Quoddy’s shoes are made to order with dozens of options for customization, making each pair unique. The family-owned company can make 100 pairs a day using around 10 different hand-sewing methods. True moccasins, which are the company’s specialty, are painstakingly made from a single piece of leather. Certain styles, like their ring boots, are so involved that only two pairs can be made per day. 

Basil Hayden's + Quoddy shoesPhoto Credit: Jared Paul Stern

After sampling some more Basil Hayden’s over lunch and comparing the lace-ups we helped make, it was easy to see the similarity between the beautiful, fragrant leather and the delectable bourbon. 

Basil Hayden's + Quoddy shoesPhoto Credit: Basil Hayden'sBasil Hayden's + Quoddy shoesPhoto Credit: Basil Hayden's