I am sure that to most of you, unless you are Polish, the name Zbigniew Bednarczyk is not ringing any bells. But if I say Mr Brog or Zibi, for friends, you will be immediately reminded of a handsome man with handlebar moustache, bowler hat on his head and a kilt instead of trousers.
Mr Brog’s “Pracownia Fajek is, maybe, the most important pipe factory throughout Eastern Europe.
As you can read on his website, the company was born in 1947 when master Wiktor Winiarski and Zbigniew Winiarski came up with the idea of starting a pipe factory called “BESKID wooden accessories and plastic products”. Between 1992 and 1995 the factory becomes Mr Brog, with over 2 million pipes sold all over the world so far.
Besides the classic heather briar pipes, Mr Brog also produces acacia-wood, cherry-wood, pear-wood, oak-wood, morta and rosewood pipes, something both rare and unique.
Zibi is also known for the pipe fest he organises every year in his town, Przemysl, a marvellous small city a few kilometres from the Ukraine border, and for the other thousand activities no one else would be able to manage having only 24 hours a day.
I met Zibi many years ago at Dortmund’s Fair. Since then, we met there every year until Zibi, in February 2020, made me an amazing present: he came to Palermo with his wonderful wife Anna to celebrate his birthday.
Here are some pictures of our fantastic reunion.