CEO and Founder Michael Reed was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Fort Myers, Florida. During his formative years, Reed spent most days in an ice rink chasing his hockey dreams all over the map, from Southern Canada to Indiana. It was during these travels that the idea of American Barrels was first born.
Sitting in a whiskey-stained basement of the Indiana University hockey house in Bloomington, Indiana, Reed and his teammates enjoyed ‘$2 Tuesday,’ a typical pre-game ritual. Earlier that same day, Reed had driven north to a buddy’s farm to shoot clay pigeons with his grandpa’s 12-gauge. One of those spent shells had made its way into his jeans pocket, and consequently found itself in the hockey house later that evening.
Sitting at the bar, Reed realized that he was holding a shot from one kind of barrel in his left hand, and a shot from another kind of barrel in his right.
On the wall behind the bar was a tattered poster from the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, between a Gadsden flag and a sign that read: “Come and Take It.”
In that moment, Reed put pen to napkin and sketched the first image of the next iconic brand of bourbon whiskey – a shotgun shell guarded by a rattlesnake, filled with the smoothest 90 proof on the shelf. Each bottle was draped with a dog tag to salute the men and women both in and out of service, who defend liberty day in and day out.
Reed honed his concept and brand for two years before moving back to Florida in 2013 to make his idea a reality. American Barrels started selling its fine bourbon whiskey in August of 2014.