Life never, and I mean never, goes how we expect it to go.
For better or for worse, this will always be an ultimate truth.
Chris Harrigan found this out in more ways than one. When he was in school, he was 100% focused on swimming. Unfortunately he needed to have a major shoulder surgery that most people never come back from. He went from 26th in the nation to possibly never swimming again.
He didn’t quit. While unfortunately losing his division one eligibility, he was able to return in division two. He then finished up his college career at Limestone University. Chris came back and won an NCAA championship while also setting a national record. An absolutely incredible accomplishment.
“You have to force yourself to forget about your old goals and focus on achieving new ones.”
After working for different companies through out the years, he ended up going to get his MBA at Clemson, and this is where he began his company Beyond Barrels.
Five years ago, Chris bought a small bourbon aging barrel and made an attempt to make some bourbon taste better. “I got horrible results,” he told me.
But that was only the beginning.
He began educating himself about the barrel aging process and the liquor itself. After a lot of fine-tuning and experimenting with over four hundred bottles, he finally was able to develop a product that people loved.
Rather than using a barrel, Chris sells the wood of the aging barrel. The wood is placed inside the liquor. “It’s like the barrel inside of your bottle.”
“It smooths the taste then it adds depth, flavor, and complexity.”
Chris’s first customer base was high-end bourbon connoissuers, and now he sells his product to restaurants. Restaurants are using his product as an alternative to an actual barrel. “It is about ten times cheaper and works better.”
His local customers speak to that fact as he has product being sold at the WXYZ bar of Aloft Hotel, Sip, Stellar, and the Cigar Box to name a few. He has customers in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and California.
Beyond Barrels is the Edison of light-bulbs. After learning hundreds of ways NOT to make bourbon, he was able to perfect it.
Failure is essential to a successful business.
Chris shared with me of his successes and failures, including business ideas that he played with and ended up not working out. From my conversation with him, it’s clear that his mind is constantly thinking about new ventures.
“Whatever your idea is, go ahead and do it. You’re probably going to fail your first two or three times. But you’ll learn through those failures. Getting out there, trying, and failing is probably more valuable than immediately being successful.”
“Greenville is an incredible place to live. People are great in Greenville, and I want to be able to contribute to my city.”
This is just phase one of Beyond Barrels. Be sure to check out his products and follow what he has coming up in the market.
Embrace the unexpected.
Don’t be afraid to fail.