The shot drank 'round the world.

Every revolution begins with the first shot. Contrary to popular belief, America’s introduction was not heard ‘round the world fired from the end of a steel barrel, but was drank ‘round the bar tapped from an oak one, and raised in glass to a toast for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Blame it on the whiskey. Let ours be your inspiration.

So let freedom pour, and fuel the rebel in you.

407 Dunn Street, Bloomington, Indiana.

It was another $2 Tuesday pregame down in the basement of the hockey house in Hoosierville, Indiana, but this night was special, it was rookie party, it was someone’s birthday and it was the day American Barrels got it’s name.

Being it was someone’s birthday that day, a few of us elected to skip class and go shoot some neon pigeons instead. One of the spent shells made its way into my jacket pocket, and for some reason it wasn’t until rookie party that night when I found it in there.

Now bourbon was the spirit of our culture, and believe me we drank it like fish starving for water. But on special occasions, such as this night, the team vets opted to pull out a different bottle off the shelf. It tasted to me like watered down syrup, but it labeled itself “fit for a king” which I guess was supposed to be the allure of drinking it. We may not have been cut from the same cloth as privileged elite, but we were of the righteous breed who understood that greatness is something achieved by hard work, not something served on a silver platter. We are nobler than kings, you see we earn our success, we don’t pillage it.

Just be before we toasted our right of passage to making the team, I got a glimpse of Clint Eastwood staring at me from a black and white poster of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly framed between our Gadsden and Alamo flags. I guess you could call it one of those proverbial light bulb moments, because there I was, a shot of whisky in one hand and a shot gun shell in the other. I grabbed a pen and scrap piece of paper and sketched what would evolve into American Barrels. I can still remember calling my dad the next morning, “Dude, I got an idea!” It was to be a whiskey, the best kind, one not made in tribute to a king, but made in honor of those who kicked his royal ass. A drink worthy of every occasion, especially the special ones.

And that’s the story of American Barrels, more or less.


American Barrels is a perfectly balanced bourbon, refined of tomorrow’s hangover, unrivaled in drinkability, goldilocks in flavor, mild in burn with Zero chest-bite, and to most discerning palates, the smoothest whiskey there is.

It weighs in at 90 proof (45% ALC / VOL) consisting of a 60% corn, 36% rye and 4% malt-barley mash bill culminated as the optimal everyday bourbon, fit for every occasion, and especially for those of celebration.

American Barrels, crafted small batch bourbon whiskey, tester bottles

So come and taste it, and enjoy a melody of creamy caramel and vanilla up front, followed by soft praline sweetness, mellow rye spice, oaky undertones, subtle notes of honey and a touch of cocoa ending with a crisp, citrus finish.

American Barrels, crafted small batch bourbon whiskey, barrel house in South Carolina.

Our bottle is our coat of arms, a shotgun shell branded with a Gadsden rattlesnake.

During the Revolutionary War, General Gadsden of Charleston, SC designed a battle flag simple in mind but powerful in message: a coiled rattlesnake centered upon a golden field, the symbol of America’s Independence, and her original esteem.

An article published in a Philadelphia newspaper sited under a pseudonym later revealed as Benjamin Franklin describes the innate characteristics of the rattlesnake and her uncanny resemblance to the People’s spirit.

He surmised that she wielded an attitude of endless duration and vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders, and therefore is an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, she never wounds ’till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her. He recollected too that her rattles were the only part which increased in numbers, how distinct and independent of each other they are and yet how firmly they are united together. That one of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living.

It is the snake’s nature to live in peace and harmony, but she is furnished with the means and will to protect hers at all costs if the situation arises. It is our duty as a free people to act and bear the same: Amendment 1 is our rattle, Amendment 2 our fangs.

The shot drank ‘round the world.

Most are familiar with that famous shot heard ‘round the world. But not many may know the first shot to spark that revolution was not in fact fired out the end of a steel barrel, but was poured ‘round the bar tapped from an oak one and raised in glass for a toast to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our name is a play on words. You see it said that whiskey is the water of life. It is known that bourbon is America’s signature whiskey. So bourbon whiskey therefore must be the water of life, the flavor of liberty. Bourbon can only be tapped from American barrels, and both life and liberty can only be insured by another kind of American barrels.

So one could say, American barrels have been serving up shots, both of and for, life and liberty since 1775.

Our chapter of the story though begins in 2013.

407 Dunn Street, Bloomington, Indiana.

It was my rookie year at Indiana University, a time when I semi-regularly attended class but never missed a $2 Tuesday. Down in the basement of our rickety hockey house is where the notion for American Barrels was conceived. I can still remember calling my dad hungover that next morning, “Dude, I got an idea.”

It was one of the boys birthday’s that day before, and so some of us decided to skip lecture and ride north to shoot some neon pigeons. That night, we congregated in the basement in front of our make shift cream and crimson striped bar backed by a wall covered in a collage of classic Americana. As our ritual pregame shots were being lined up and poured I reached into my jacket pocket. A spent shell from earlier that day had found it’s way there, so I pulled it out and played with it on the bar top. As our captain delivered the birthday toast, a proverbial lightbulb turned on for me. There I was, a shotgun shell in one hand and a shot of whiskey in the other and staring at me from the wall behind our bar framed between a Gadsden and an Alamo flag was a black and white movie poster of Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I grabbed a pen and a scrap piece of paper and sketched what would become American Barrels, the complete antithesis to the branded shot I had just taken, one I would take never again.

For family & friends.

Bourbon is what we drank, it was the spirit of our culture, and we passed it around as if we were drinking from the holy grail itself.

The only time we ever sipped from something different was on special occasion, such as a birthday. On these days the team veterans would pull out the whiskey that dubs itself “fit for a king,” a recipe and symbol made in the image of the very thing Americans ideologically stand against. And yet, we celebrated any achievement we made or milestone we surpassed with a cheers to being king for the day as if being king was something special.

But we are the kin of rebels who, for family and friends, braved it all to free this land from any king. So to drink to the fantasy of being king for a day is nothing short of philosophical blasphemy; rather we should drink to the glory of not being subject to one at all. What we accomplish here should be celebrated with a recipe and symbol made in the image of our People. Give toast not to the concept of privilege, but the pride of being equally American – because that is truly something special worth raising a glass to.

That is why I created American Barrels: for us.

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