WoodCraft Bourbon Blender Announces First Franchisee: Barrels & Billets

WoodCraft Bourbon Blender of Newtown, Ohio, announced that it will begin franchising. Its first franchisee, Barrels & Billets, will open its doors Feb. 23 on Whiskey Row in Louisville, Kentucky.

This exciting new bourbon experience where guests can blend, create and bottle their very own bourbon will complement Louisville’s thriving bourbon tourism industry by offering guests a fun and unique way to participate in the blending of their own personal bourbon. Guests will blend with six award-winning WoodCraft bourbons which include a 200-year oak, European oak, American oak, cherry wood, maple wood and smoked oak. During the experience, guests will learn the art of bourbon blending before the blending process begins. Once the blending experience is complete, guests can have their recipe bottled onsite.

The franchisee is the Hillerich family—famous for their Louisville Slugger baseball bats. They have a link to whiskey as the original family immigrant, J. Frederick, was a barrel maker. They also have showcased years of expertise with consumer experiences such as their famous Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.

“Some may be wondering why a sports and attraction company is getting into the bourbon business, but Barrels & Billets is actually a continuation of H&B’s long history of creating uniquely Louisville experiences for our fans and guests,” said John Hillerich, president & CEO of Hillerich & Bradsby Co., in a press release.

Co-founders Doug Hall and Joe Girgash created the WoodCraft finishing system to offer everyone the ability to have their own custom bourbon. Despite the chaos of Covid, they’ve worked through massive regulatory and production issues to make it possible for everyone to have their own bourbon again—one drink or one bottle at a time for a reasonable price. As Hall says, “Owning your own custom bourbon distillery is a ton of fun.  That said, you need to have patience as the process for regulatory approval is painful.”  

It took three long years to turn this dream into a reality. Hall leveraged the invention skills from his other company, The Eureka! Ranch, and worked through the many challenges including those outlined below.

  • Working through state and federal rules and regulations
  • Teaching customers how to create their own custom bourbon recipes
  • Creating a way for the custom bourbon to have reliability so that it can be repurchased at later dates
  • Discovering a cost-effective system for creating individual bottles for the custom bourbon

The process is simple. Consumers can create their custom bourbon three ways:

  1. Enjoy a one hour blending experience, while learning about the art and science of master bourbon blending
  2. Work with a 2 minute Artificial Intelligence Bourbon Wizard
  3. Buy a custom Bourbon Blending Kit to do at home guided by an internet accessible video.

Hall and Girgash will continue to expand the franchising of the free-standing WoodCraft Bourbon Blending Machines in stores, as well as fractional franchising in over 20,000 distilleries, breweries, and wineries.  With a low investment, and small space requirement – franchisees can soon offer custom bourbon experiences and bourbon bottles to their clients.

They are also developing a way for a version of the blending machine to be available in bars and restaurants.  Additionally, they are building on their initial success of Dexter Bourbon and Noble Oak Bourbon and working to develop limited edition releases for franchisees to sell.  And, Hall as a Canadian-American, is in talks to take the franchising of custom bourbon to Canada, and ultimately, around the world.

WoodCraft Bourbon Blending Franchising is currently not available in all states.  In keeping with federal and state laws there is a disclosure process that must be followed.  To learn more, please visit BourbonFranchise.com.

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