Pirate Life Knives

Pirate Life Knives

Posted by Shannon Dolman on

Beer and knives. They may seem like an unusual combination, but Koi Knives’ latest joint venture takes a whole new spin on crafting with beer.

It’s no secret that Koi Knives owners Ramon and Shannon are partial to sharing a brew or two, so it’s not really surprising that they decided to combine the liquid amber with their passion for making artisan Japanese knives.

Late last year they teamed up with another local South Australian business, Pirate Life Brewing, to create Pirate Life Knives. Pirate Life is a growing beer brand, located in Port Adelaide, not far from the Koi Knives shed.

A fan of Pirate Life beers, and also in admiration of their creativity and diversity as a business, Shannon said they were inspired to approach the brewery and propose a partnership.

“While crafting very different products, we felt like our businesses had some similarities in the way that we both like to create and provide enjoyable and pleasurable products,” he said.

The brewery staff welcomed the opportunity and handed over a bucket of hops used to make their popular Indian Pale Ale (IPA).

Excited by the challenge at hand as well as the overpowering smell of the hops that roused similar fond feelings towards his favourite knock-off drink and cooking beverage, Shannon was inspired to get to work.

Resembling chicken pellets, the hops were a totally different product to play with compared to the usual Australian woods used to craft the unique Koi Knives Japanese knife designs.

Each hop had to be individually handled and rolled in CA Glue (superglue). They were then cast in black and white coloured resins.

Having never been done before, Shannon said the process was very much a guessing game as they waited to see if their project would succeed. 

“With beer we had faith, and onwards we pressed, curious to know whether our vision to create something unique could become a reality,” he said.

The hops were successfully cast in the resin, and the project continued to progress.

The first hop knife handle designs were paired with a Japanese Bunka knife, made with Damascus steel.


Ramon said the Bunka knife was a perfect match for the beer inspired blade.

“Not only it is a beasty and aesthetically pleasing knife it is also ideal for preparing meat and slicing through barbecue meats, which pairs perfectly with a variety of tasty craft beers,” he said.

Both parties were very impressed with the end result, with all involved unsure what the outcome would be.

The Pirate Life Knives project continues to brew, with additional designs currently in progress. Stay tuned for more details in our next ale tale!

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