LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With the latest wave of bourbon fandom, creative people have built lucrative careers off of everything surrounding the industry. One Louisville man has persevered through personal trials and used his word working skills to create beloved pieces of art out of that familiar charred oak barrel.
Jason Cohen owns a shop in the NuLu neighborhood and began working with used barrels just as the spirit was gaining back worldwide popularity. With that success, Cohen has also battled his own trial. In 1988, a car accident cost him the use of much of his right arm. It wasn’t until years later that he started his business, and he says it has made him better.
“It makes me more determined to prove people wrong, you know?” Cohen said in his busy workshop. “That’s the first thing my dad told me when I said I was gonna start making furniture. He’s like, ‘No you’re not, there’s no way you can do that.’ And, you know, 25 years later I’m still doing it and it seems to be getting better, I hope.”
Cohen has crafted multiple projects for Kentucky distilleries, including barrel stave boxes made for an upcoming limited release of one brand’s prized bourbon. Cohen plans to keep all other details secret until the job is done.