Rethinking Fire Tour: A Breeo Origin Story
Breeo was built on a passion to live against the grain. It was built as a means to find adventure and cultivate a deep love for real wood fire.
In the earliest days, co-founder Jonathan Miller didn’t set out to build a brand. He wanted an adventure. Instead of sticking close to home base, Jonathan headed off-grid in a solar-powered camper and built the company via a cell phone booster propped on top.
In 2013, smokeless fire pits entered Jonathan’s radar while searching for ways to live off-grid with his wife. He met one of the original inventors, Andy Kaufman, and the two started Breeo Industries as a brand to market and sell the new innovation. Jon worked at a marketing agency during the day, finished college courses in the evening, and then sat with his wife on the floor of their one-bedroom city apartment, stuffing Breeo mailers at 10 pm.
Jonathan and his wife, Janessa, knew little about building a company, but they wanted a flexible income in order to live on the road. Breeo became their ticket to adventure, combining a childhood passion for wood fires with the fluidity of a startup. As the idea for Breeo took root, the couple calculated how to simultaneously live on the road and build a company. They called it the “Rethinking Fire Tour”.
On Christmas Eve, 2014, the Millers moved out of their apartment in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, re-sold their second-hand furniture, and piled their remaining possessions into the 17 feet of their ‘96 Casita Travel Trailer. Jonathan left his job at a marketing agency and became Breeo’s only full-time employee.
The company needed boots on the ground. The first smokeless fire pit made its debut touring the States and Canada, from campsites to tradeshows, turning heads and winning awards. Breeo's fire pits were unique, high quality, and built in America. The company was committed to customer service, highlighted by the co-founder meeting those customers face-to-face and showcasing the fire pits in person as much as possible. The network grew and smokeless fire became a real possibility for American homeowners.
When Jonathan and Janessa weren't selling Breeo, they were living with it. Whenever possible, the Millers cooked outside over the fire in the original, black, 15-inch Double Flame. For months on end, their Casita moved from one piece of public land to another around the great American west. They seared steak on mountaintops, fried fresh-caught fish by Canadian lakes, and smoked surf perch on Pacific beaches.
The Casita lived off the grid. Jonathan parked it on public land off remote logging trails and scraped out enough service to power his hotspot. In those days, the Breeo office overlooked mountains, streams, and wildlife. Smokeless fire pits anchored every camp and became both the Millers’ daily kitchen and their evening wind-down. They began to visualize Breeo bringing this experience to every backyard in the country.
Under the pretense of being in a Pennsylvania office, Jonathan took calls from a hammock in northern California while a bear meandered through camp. He spied a moose and her calf on a Colorado hike, then strolled back to his doorstep to file an invoice. At lunchtime, he started a fire in the Double Flame and grilled a steak. This lifestyle became the vision bundled into every Breeo fire pit.
Off-grid living requires grit and determination, much like building a startup. The Millers faced vehicle breakdowns, an accident, and the ever-present struggles of boondocking: where to find the next water source, fixing leaks in a vintage camper’s roof, or losing the search for a campsite and turning to a parking lot at dark. At the same time, they were balancing questions of how to price products, reach customers, and contract manufacturing.
The constant presence of nature and real wood fire brought physical and mental health to their lives. Breathing in fresh air, cooking outside, and gathering friends around the fire grounded them in every location.
Living with Breeo pushed Jonathan to develop new and better products. He knew the best way to maintain a pattern of constant improvement was to stay as close to manufacturing as possible, which is why Breeo is still committed to being USA made.
In 2016, Breeo Industries merged with the steel fabrication company manufacturing their fire pits in Pennsylvania. Together, Amos Stoltzfus and Jonathan Miller formed Breeo, LLC, bringing the marketing, manufacturing, and shipping under one umbrella. The Double Flame was completely reinvented, later leading to the X Series and SearPlate™ cooking rim, which morphed into the current build-your-own model, allowing everyone to customize a fire pit for their own backyard.
At Breeo, work and fire do not need to look traditional. Innovation is expected. Every day, products, situations, and people are handled flexibly, geared for continuous improvement. We care about quality products, built in America, crafted to fit our customers’ lives, homes, and families.
On the Rethinking Fire Tour, Jon fed his family over a wood fire and spent evenings gathered around it on mountains, deserts, and beaches across North America. Breeo wants to offer this experience in every American backyard: a taste of adventure, innovation, family, and living against the grain.