May 8, 2021
Pensacola-based steel drum maker one of only a handful of makers in nation

The Pensacola manufacturer is one of only a handful of steel drum makers in the U.S.

Economic Backbone - Arts & Culture

Pensacola-based steel drum maker one of only a handful of makers in nation

Carlton Proctor | 5/28/2019

Alan Coyle has perfected the evocative and distinctly Caribbean sound of the steel drum — but not as a player. Coyle’s Pensacola manufacturing shop turns out about 300 steel drums annually that sell for $2,500 to $6,000 apiece. His shop is one of only a handful of steel drum makers in the U.S.

Originating in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 20th century, the steel drum is “a happy sound, very much equated with the beach life,” says Coyle.

It takes Coyle and his small staff of metalsmiths at Coyle Drums about 70 hours to make each hand-made drum. Each drum emits a “voice” that can range from tenor to alto and soprano.

While most steel drums today are made from 55-gallon empty oil barrels, Coyle says he is one of only two U.S. manufacturers that make drums from raw rolled steel.

“We manufacture the entire drum from scratch,” he says. “It’s a bigger drum than what you would make from an oil barrel, and it’s of a much higher quality.”

Chicago area musician Scott Johnson, one of Coyle’s longtime customers, says Coyle is among the top steel drum manufacturers in the country. “His steel drums have great dynamic range that really project a beautiful tone,” says Johnson.

Coyle describes his steel drum product as a “niche within a niche” and adds that his marketing strategy is simply word of mouth.

“There’s a much bigger demand than supply,” he says. “We have a year-and-a-half backlog of orders for our drums.”

 

Read more in Florida Trend's June issue.

Select from the following options:

EXISTING
DIGITAL
SUBSCRIBERS

Access Article Now!

DIGITAL
SINGLE
ISSUE

Get a single DIGITAL copy of this issue

$4.95

PRINT
SINGLE
ISSUE

Get a single PRINT copy of this issue

$4.95
plus $3 postage & handling

PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

One year in PRINT

$14.98*
plus a FREE gift!

DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

One year DIGITAL

$14.98*
plus a FREE gift!

ALL ACCESS SUBSCRIPTION

One year Combo
PRINT + DIGITAL

$24.95*
plus a FREE gift!


CURRENT  PRINT  SUBSCRIBERS

If you are already a print subscriber,
ADD DIGITAL EDITION ACCESS
to your existing subscription here!
(or call our office at 727-892-2643)

* offer valid for new subscribers only

Tags: Arts & Entertainment, Economic Backbone, Feature

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Domino Park, symbol of Little Havana, reopens after COVID closure
Domino Park, symbol of Little Havana, reopens after COVID closure

The sound of laughter and clacking dominoes returned to Little Havana's popular Domino Park on May 3, 2021, as it reopened after being closed for more than a year due to COVID-19.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you agree with Governor DeSantis's decision to create a permanent ban on vaccine "passports" in Florida?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Need more information
  • Other (Please share your comments in the comment section below)

See Results

Florida Trend Media Company
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701
727.821.5800

© Copyright 2021 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.