FOOD ARTISAN: Ari Miller, 1732 Meats
“Those other tiny failed businesses never captured my imagination. But when I got into this business, I found my people—crazy food people.”
Ari Miller’s path to becoming a food artisan isn’t exactly one you would expect. The lawschool grad’s first career was in retail banking, and he went on to dabble in several other kinds of small businesses, including real estate and a laundromat.
Through it all, he was making bacon at home. “In 1998 I got a craving for garlic bacon and couldn’t find it,” says Miller. So he bought a book—Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie— and started making his own cured meats in his residential kitchen. “I was hanging it in the bathroom.”
Around a decade later, it occurred to Miller that he might be able to sell his homemade bacon at his local farmers’ market in Lansdowne, and 1732 Meats took off from there. Today his line includes several bacon flavors as well as other cured meats, and the products are served at many restaurants and shops around the region.
“Those other tiny failed business never captured my imagination. But when I got into this business, I found my people—crazy food people,” he says.
Today his business has grown into a large USDA-inspected space, where he produces his own products and helps other businesses produce theirs by leasing them the space they need to grow. For Miller, it’s still all about the community. He also shares his space with restaurants that want to make their own charcuterie but don’t have room in their kitchens. “I call it the Island of Lost Prosciuttos,” says Miller.
Why does he do this? It all goes back to his people: that “crazy food” community. “People who aren’t from around here don’t understand that there’s no rivalry. I think we all get that in the long run, all boats rise together.”