If you suddenly found that you had over 3000 whisky casks on your hands, what exactly would you do?
That’s exactly the situation that Patrick Keir found himself in earlier this year.
Having spotted an eye for a business venture, but wasn’t exactly sure to begin with, he’s now selling the former casks in an entirely different form.
His business, Whisky Barrels Direct, manufacture and design bespoke whisky items from old barrels. As a business plan, it’s environmentally friendly, creating something new from something old.
Patrick, from Falkirk, explained: ‘I buy and sell whisky, and I was in a few distilleries, where I noticed they have an abundance of whisky barrels, and they have to dispose of them.
‘So I said I could buy some of the barrels from them, and try to do something with them.
‘To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do at first, but I bought them and just took it from there. I bought an initial 3000 from them, and I was working from the house, so I had to pay for a yard to take the barrels.
‘I started back in June, then I went online and was wondering who would pay for an old cask, and then saw something.
‘The first idea was to sell engraved parts of the cases, which are proving to be really popular. I’ve got 5000 cask ends, and have guys sanding them down and putting them through lasers to create bespoke items and gifts.
‘It progressed from there, but I don’t have a website yet, that’s being worked on. At the moment, we’re doing everything through Facebook and on the phone, so we find out what they are looking for, and what we can do for them with a barrel or cask end.’
Patrick now works from inside a cask, or rather, several former casks, as he explained: ‘I actually have an office now, which has been built out of whisky barrels! It makes a lot of impact when people come in and see it.
‘We do an awful lot of things now – there’s tables and chairs, we have bar stools made out of the casks, and things like that. We do the work here, and we also outsource some of it too.
‘Some people have come in to see me and ask if they can buy the casks to make certain things. Now, I’m giving them barrels and paying for their goods which I get in return, which works out well for us all.’
As the season of cheer approaches, Patrick has his eye on something different.
Patrick added: ‘We’re going to try and break the record for the world’s largest Christmas tree made out of whisky barrels. At the moment, the current record is 13 from Glen Moray!’
Find out more at www.facebook.com/whiskybarrelsdirect