After making its way steadily into the independent housewares market, Hammer Stahl’s cookware side of the business will be rebranded and renamed and will now be known as Heritage Steel. The new brand will make its official debut at the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show, here.
The name change, said Bobby Griggs, vp/Heritage Steel, is in tribute to the cookware’s U.S.-based manufacturing and strategic planning by New Era, parent company of Heritage Steel, to continue to grow its domestic manufacturing capabilities.
This is the company’s second push into a new brand. In 2017, the company began branding its cookware American Clad by Hammer Stahl, with the same mission — to showcase the company’s American innovation and craftsmanship and its commitment to the U.S. workforce. But, said Griggs, more could be done when it came to touting that message, hence the overhaul and shift to naming the company Heritage Steel.
GOURMET INSIDER recently spoke to Griggs about the rebranding and what is next for the company.
GI: Can you disclose a bit about the background behind the name change? Why now as the brand has become established in the industry?
Bobby Griggs: We sat down as a team about a year ago and took a hard look at our product lines and our brands. We looked at where we are sitting both with the consumer and with the retailer, as well as spent time envisioning what we want for this company long-term.
What we realized is that the consumer— and even some retailers— viewed us as a cutlery company that happened to make cookware, when the reality is that we are a cookware manufacturer that owns a cutlery brand.
GI: How do you feel that rebranding to Heritage Steel will shift those mindsets?
BG: We felt that the Hammer Stahl and American Clad names are really entwined, and we decided we needed a separation from that. We are renaming our physical facility in Tennessee to Heritage Steel and at the same time, we will be branding our cookware as Heritage Steel. This will bring to life the heritage that we have in manufacturing here in Tennessee and the commitment that we have to U.S. manufacturing on our cookware side. We feel like this will also give us opportunities later on to introduce other products that we will manufacture here in the United States, possibly bakeware or an American-made knife.
GI: What will happen to the American Clad line that the company introduced?
BG: American Clad will remain in some of the copy as a bullet point and a descriptor of the product itself, but as we move forward, it will begin to drop out of our marketing materials, advertising and some of the merchandising that we have.
GI: What’s the timeline on the rebrand and what should retailers expect?
BG: We will be sending out a rebranding kit to all of our retailers that have point-of-purchase display materials. For those that have cookware stand displays, they will get a new header that will say Heritage Steel instead of American Clad by Hammer Stahl, which will start shipping sometime in March. All of the labeling that goes on our cookware boxes will no longer say American Clad, it will say Heritage Steel, and those will begin to roll out in March and April. By the end of the year, all of our literature, marketing and point-of-sale will have the HS logo with Heritage Steel as the wording.
GI: Will there be new materials or any other major changes that retailers should be aware of?
BG: We are keeping all of the logos and the colors the same, so the HS and the logo in the shield— none of it changes. The look of the pan will also not change. The only thing that will happen is that we will begin removing the words ‘Hammer Stahl’ from all of the cookware labeling and we will only use Heritage Steel for that labeling.
GI: What about the cutlery business? Will that remain Hammer Stahl?
BG: Hammer Stahl will represent our cutlery line and it will also represent any product that we import from overseas. Heritage Steel, we will be protective of that brand and it will only be product that we manufacture here in the U.S. We will be working to really separate the two. Some people think that our cookware is not made in the U.S. because Hammer Stahl continues to be at front-of-mind, so people think it’s German. (Hammer Stahl knives are German-made.) So, we really are going to highlight the fact that we are an American company.