Outlander actor Sam Heughan among clients of new firm making minibars from whisky barrels

A company that specialises in making bespoke mini bars from old whisky barrels is looking to top up orders after securing clients including Outlander actor Sam Heughan and former Scotland rugby captain Greig Laidlaw.

Oak & Black has been created during lockdown by Freddie Main, who was previously a design and technology teacher for more than two decades.

The East Lothian-based company, which has just taken on its first placement through the UK government’s Kickstart Scheme to help young people get into work, hand-picks the barrels from a cooperage to create a mini bar with a full middle shelf, smart lighting system, a built-in magnetic bottle opener, a hand-stamped personalised metal tag and unique barrel number to trace it back to its origins.

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The bars include a hand-stamped personalised metal tag and unique barrel number to trace its origins. Picture: contributed.

Other products on offer made from reclaimed materials include bottle racks, engraved barrel end wall hangers, whisky boards for drams, gin blocks and bespoke products including signage, tables and coasters for a new coffee company owned by former Scotland International Jim Hamilton and whisky barrel display planters for Ondine restaurant in Edinburgh.

Before launching the company, Mr Main was also part of the Scotland Touch Senior Mixed World Cup Team. Following the tournament in Malaysia 2019, he contracted an illness that led to post-viral fatigue, which he continues to manage.

During lockdown last year, a period when his energy was beginning to improve having been signed off work since January 2020, he decided to create a whisky barrel bar for one of his friends, and demand snowballed.

Mr Main, who is also a life coach, said he is very pleased that his new venture is “definitely going in the right direction, especially securing orders for people like Sam Heughan, Jim Hamilton and Cask88, and taking on my first member of staff”.

Freddie Main decided to leave teaching and focus on his dream to make products from reclaimed wood. Picture: contributed.

He is also set to talk about his entrepreneurial story at an online business networking event on June 24, and said: “I’m looking forward to sharing my story about going from an employee to being a self-employed business owner-and following my dreams at the next Love Your Business networking event.”

Love Your Business Networking Club, which was set up in 2018 by Michelle Brown from the eponymous PR agency, is designed to help bring together businesses to share contacts, referrals and support each other.

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