Bourbon culture can sure go a long way in the inspiration department. For instance, Bourbon Barrel Rehab LLC, a Louisville-based business that makes custom art, furniture and other pieces, was an idea that emerged while its owners were on a tour of Woodford Reserve Distillery near Versailles.

Check out our article on the front page of Louisville Business First!

Bourbon Barrel Rehab has gone from a couple’s hobby to a growing business

Bourbon culture can sure go a long way in the inspiration department.

For instance, Bourbon Barrel Rehab LLC, a Louisville-based business that makes custom art, furniture and other pieces, was an idea that emerged while its owners were on a tour of Woodford Reserve Distillery near Versailles, Ky.

Jeff Irish and Liz Davis, who launched the business, were impressed by a three-story wall there that featured wood bourbon barrel staves woven together.

Davis remembers looking at it and wanting something similar for herself.

“I just nudged (Irish) and said I want a headboard like that,” she said.

And Irish, who primarily had worked in the home construction industry until that point, had the know-how to do it. Soon enough that project evolved into other ones: various barrel-converted furniture items and pieces of art for friends.

They had a talent for this.

Then in 2013, they were tapped by Forecastle Festival, the annual music, art and activism festival that takes place each July at Waterfront Park, to build an 8-by-4-foot sign in the shape of the state of Kentucky.

That sign, which sold for about $1,500, hung over The Bourbon Lodge attraction at the festival. It was one of the most complicated pieces they had made to that point.

And the order was enough to transform their pastime into a full-time business, though the two declined to disclose revenue figures.

Things have changed

In the last few years the two have put their crafting talents to work. Irish does the woodworking, while Davis handles woodburning, jewelry making and the administrative side of the business. Everything they do is custom and made by hand, with nothing assembled in an automated process.

The two have done several commercial jobs. They built the bar at Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse at Louisville Slugger Field on Main Street, for instance.

They’ve also built a bar for Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc. and some artwork for The Monkey Wrench on Barret Avenue.

Businesses are not their only clients, however.

Their website, BourbonBarrelRehab.com, is full of creative items sold to consumers: A barrel head converted into a cake platter and customized with a bride and groom’s name on it or cuff links that feature bourbon barrel wood char covered by glass.

They also have wine racks, benches, stools and guitar stands on the site — just to name a few examples.

“He can build anything,” Davis said.

A bourbon barrel stave table goes for $275 on the company’s website. A personalize barrel head wedding guest book costs $307.

A place of their own

Until recently, Bourbon Barrel Rehab has been a home-based business, and the two also rented space for a workshop in Simpsonville.

But Irish said they recently signed a lease to move into 3,000 square feet of space at 1726 Mellwood Ave.

So far, the building is home to a workshop and the company’s office space.

Irish said he hopes to open a retail gallery in that location by mid-July.

They’ll be opening that retail space at a time when the bourbon industry is booming.

Irish said the two have toyed with the idea of selling their wares in some of the bourbon-themed attractions and shops in town.

But he added that they ultimately decided against it because they would have to share profits with shop owners.

“It’s hard for me to give away the profit when we’re such a small business,” he said.


Bourbon’s popularity is a double-edge sword

When Irish and Davis started Bourbon Barrel Rehab LLC, a company that makes jewelry, furniture and so on out of bourbon barrels, lumber was easy to come by.

Davis explains that companies used to throw bourbon barrels out if they were no longer usable for aging liquor. If they did have to buy a used barrel, it would typically cost about $25.

Things have changed in just the last few years.

As the popularity of bourbon has grown, so too has the popularity of bourbon barrel-related items.

You have companies such as Bourbon Barrel Rehab using barrels to build things. But there are also companies out their using barrels for aging beer, food stuff or even cigars, Davis said.

Because of the demand, the price of barrels has gone way up — to about $125 per barrel.

To offset this impact on expenses, Irish and Davis are trying to establish very close relationships with small distilleries to find a fair price on barrels.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find them,” she said.


Bourbon Barrel Rehab LLC

Business: Art, jewelry, furniture and other pieces custom made from bourbon barrels.

Website: BourbonBarrelRehab.com

Phone: 502-472-5006

Established: 2014

No. of employees:2

Bourbon culture can sure go a long way in the inspiration department. For instance, Bourbon Barrel Rehab LLC, a Louisville-based business that makes custom art, furniture and other pieces, was an idea that emerged while its owners were on a tour of Woodford Reserve Distillery near Versailles.

Check out our article on the front page of Louisville Business First!

Bourbon Barrel Rehab has gone from a couple’s hobby to a growing business

Bourbon culture can sure go a long way in the inspiration department.

For instance, Bourbon Barrel Rehab LLC, a Louisville-based business that makes custom art, furniture and other pieces, was an idea that emerged while its owners were on a tour of Woodford Reserve Distillery near Versailles, Ky.

Jeff Irish and Liz Davis, who launched the business, were impressed by a three-story wall there that featured wood bourbon barrel staves woven together.

Davis remembers looking at it and wanting something similar for herself.

“I just nudged (Irish) and said I want a headboard like that,” she said.

And Irish, who primarily had worked in the home construction industry until that point, had the know-how to do it. Soon enough that project evolved into other ones: various barrel-converted furniture items and pieces of art for friends.

They had a talent for this.

Then in 2013, they were tapped by Forecastle Festival, the annual music, art and activism festival that takes place each July at Waterfront Park, to build an 8-by-4-foot sign in the shape of the state of Kentucky.

That sign, which sold for about $1,500, hung over The Bourbon Lodge attraction at the festival. It was one of the most complicated pieces they had made to that point.

And the order was enough to transform their pastime into a full-time business, though the two declined to disclose revenue figures.

Things have changed

In the last few years the two have put their crafting talents to work. Irish does the woodworking, while Davis handles woodburning, jewelry making and the administrative side of the business. Everything they do is custom and made by hand, with nothing assembled in an automated process.

The two have done several commercial jobs. They built the bar at Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse at Louisville Slugger Field on Main Street, for instance.

They’ve also built a bar for Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc. and some artwork for The Monkey Wrench on Barret Avenue.

Businesses are not their only clients, however.

Their website, BourbonBarrelRehab.com, is full of creative items sold to consumers: A barrel head converted into a cake platter and customized with a bride and groom’s name on it or cuff links that feature bourbon barrel wood char covered by glass.

They also have wine racks, benches, stools and guitar stands on the site — just to name a few examples.

“He can build anything,” Davis said.

A bourbon barrel stave table goes for $275 on the company’s website. A personalize barrel head wedding guest book costs $307.

A place of their own

Until recently, Bourbon Barrel Rehab has been a home-based business, and the two also rented space for a workshop in Simpsonville.

But Irish said they recently signed a lease to move into 3,000 square feet of space at 1726 Mellwood Ave.

So far, the building is home to a workshop and the company’s office space.

Irish said he hopes to open a retail gallery in that location by mid-July.

They’ll be opening that retail space at a time when the bourbon industry is booming.

Irish said the two have toyed with the idea of selling their wares in some of the bourbon-themed attractions and shops in town.

But he added that they ultimately decided against it because they would have to share profits with shop owners.

“It’s hard for me to give away the profit when we’re such a small business,” he said.


Bourbon’s popularity is a double-edge sword

When Irish and Davis started Bourbon Barrel Rehab LLC, a company that makes jewelry, furniture and so on out of bourbon barrels, lumber was easy to come by.

Davis explains that companies used to throw bourbon barrels out if they were no longer usable for aging liquor. If they did have to buy a used barrel, it would typically cost about $25.

Things have changed in just the last few years.

As the popularity of bourbon has grown, so too has the popularity of bourbon barrel-related items.

You have companies such as Bourbon Barrel Rehab using barrels to build things. But there are also companies out their using barrels for aging beer, food stuff or even cigars, Davis said.

Because of the demand, the price of barrels has gone way up — to about $125 per barrel.

To offset this impact on expenses, Irish and Davis are trying to establish very close relationships with small distilleries to find a fair price on barrels.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find them,” she said.


Bourbon Barrel Rehab LLC

Business: Art, jewelry, furniture and other pieces custom made from bourbon barrels.

Website: BourbonBarrelRehab.com

Phone: 502-472-5006

Established: 2014

No. of employees:2