Saint-Claude, the center of pipe making in France, is nestled in the Jura Mountains near the Swiss border. It is here that the Berrod-Regad factory made its beginnings in 1875. Lucien Regad founded the company and was one of the first manufacturers to utilize then-novel briar for pipes. Arthur Berrod, who joined the company in 1888, rose quickly and ultimately married Thérèse Regad. The company was renamed Berrod-Regad in 1914.
The Butz-Choquin line (Berrod-Regad purchased the name in 1951) has become known worldwide since its inception for both the quality of its pipes and its flair for the unusual. This flair for the unique began in 1963 when Claude Berrod (father of current president Jean-Paul Berrod) began to experiment with new and unusual pipe shapes. At that time it was truly revolutionary for a French carver to experiment with nontraditional shapes since the French were faithful to very classic shapes. Ironically, or perhaps not, France has become known in the pipe world for producing unusual and beautiful pipes.
Most Butz-Choquin pipes are machine cut and sanded, and finished by hand from Corsican and Moroccan briar. The average production line pipe takes seventy steps to complete from block of briar to finished product. The production line Butz-Choquin pipes are all of excellent quality, using quality briar and crafted by experts (the average worker at the factory has over ten years of experience).
A few Butz-Choquin pipes are made entirely by hand by Alain Albuisson and his team of five master pipe carvers. These lines include Maitre Pipier and the Collection series. Alain Albuisson is deservedly one of the most esteemed pipe carvers in France, having won numerous awards and is one of only five French pipe makers to be titled "Meilleur Ouvrier de France," (literally, "the most industrial of France") designating those who are at the forefront of their respective field (from pipe making to cooking to engineering). Albuisson is a true master of his art and with the merest glance at his work it is obvious why he has been so lauded. His pipes exhibit an unbelievable eye for form and composition, an incredible knowledge of the medium, and a minute attention to detail.