February 28, 2009

End-of-the-line for Canmore pipe bags?

W.L. Gore, the company that introduced the first mass-market synthetic pipe bag in the mid-1980s, has announced that it is closing its operation in Livingston, Scotland, with as many as 25 employees losing their jobs this spring.
The company says that by June it will have ceased production of Canmore pipe bags at its Livingston factory, which also produces filtration products. Some of the company’s operations will be relocated, and a purchaser of the pipe bag business is being sought.
While the Canmore bag was the first major synthetic pipe bag brought to market, the brand has lost favour with most established pipers, looking instead to products from companies like Bannatyne and Gannaway. The demand for traditional sheepskin and hide pipe bags has also remained strong, and has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years.


  1. That is sad news, however it calls into question the relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer. For example, I’m interested to see what sort of feedback (if any) Canmore got on the performance, shape etc. of the bag? And, if so, what was done with it? I wonder whether there is any such exchange of information going back and forth regarding piping products? There are forums etc. but often I see ill-informed opinions on such products, often the cause of not understanding the product of the physics of the instrument. Perhaps manufacturers switch-off from this after making attempts to address some crazy questions and problems on such forums, preferring to stick to the plan. And on the flipside, I know of some manufacturers who simply don’t want to hear feedback, good or bad, and seek to ‘re-educate’ anyone making an inquiry. I also know of some manufacturers who seek out an independent review” of their product but then want to edit almost everything that is said about it….?? Chris/Tone Czar is right; the shape was an issue for many – something they didn’t change over the years

  2. Good point, Lawrie. I don’t think Gore had much contact with the piping rank and file or smaller retailers such as myself. I only ever had one brief contact with the Gore company directly. When I first started my business, I wrote to them asking about purchasing bags as a dealer. I was told that unless I could commit to the purchase of x” bags per year

  3. Sorry to hear that. Though its not a very popular bag these days, the bag is well-designed and very well constructed. No other synthetic bag handles moisture through the fabric as well. I think they could have retained the market share with an alteration of the shape, as it was never a very comfortable bag compared to some of their competitors.

  4. Andrew, a good friend of mine works for the company and the story is factually incorrect. Gore in Livingston has 2 manufacturing sites, it isn’t closing down its Livingston operation but it is closing production (all sales and support functions will remain) of one of its 5 divisions, which is Industrial Products, in 1 of its sites in Livingston. Both sites will still remain but unfortunately, 26 production workers from the Industrial Products division, of which Canmore is a part, of will lose their jobs. Canmore represents approx 3 people of the 26. Gore is a multi billion dollar global company with over 50 facilities and 8000 people Worldwide and the Canmore pipe bag business represents a very, very small proportion of its revenue. It’s been a market that Gore has never really been interested in developing as a product leader, preferring to invest R&D money and resources into its more innovative and technically advanced Medical products and its more famous GORE-TEX Fabrics businesses. Canmore and another two of the smaller businesses are being put up for sale. Gore has done this before for market areas that are not seen as their key in their product portfolio including Glide Dental Floss, which it sold to Proctor and Gamble (Crest) in 2003



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