Bourbon Country Crafters: David Nichols - The Whiskey Wash

Bourbon Country Crafters: David Nichols

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Bourbon barrel art comes in a lot of different forms, and it is inspired by a lot of different things. The Whiskey Wash recently caught up with Mint Julep Tours’ Marketing and Social Media Manager David Nichols who makes art from old license plates and whiskey barrels for his company, Nichols Industrial Art.

David Nichols

image via Maggie Kimberl

You make some bourbon barrel art pieces and some license plate art. Which came first? What is your best seller?

The license plate art came first; I was originally inspired by the large USA license plate map and thought I’d give it a try with Kentucky plates. I started off making various sizes and then had the idea to plate a used bourbon barrelhead. I’ve definitely sold more of the regular pieces since I’ve been making them longer, although I am currently working on more barrelhead license plate designs.

How has your job at Mint Julep Tours influenced your bourbon barrel art?

Handling the Marketing and Social Media for Mint Julep Tours definitely provides a lot of inspiration. Between the tours and experiences we offer, to all of the great stuff going on right now in the industry, there’s constantly people trying new things, releasing new products, and continuing to push the envelope in regards to America’s native spirit.

What is your favorite piece you’ve made so far? Do you take custom orders?

My favorite piece is definitely my large Kentucky license plate piece. It measures 4.5 by 2 ft. and is mounted on ¾ inch wood. Each license plate piece is cut into the shape of all 120 counties in the state, which makes it especially unique.

I do take custom orders aside from selling locally at Revelry Gallery in Nulu. I really enjoy custom orders because they almost always present some sort of new challenge. It keeps the process exciting and results in some truly one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

What’s your favorite bourbon?

I’ve yet to meet any bourbon I didn’t like, but if I had to pick just one I’d have to say Bulleit. It’s been my go-to for years and I’ve always got a bottle on my bar.

About the author

Maggie Kimberl

One night during Derby week, I was working in the liquor store while Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge was doing a tasting. I kept trying to make my way over to talk to him, but we were super busy (did I mention it was Derby week?) and I didn't make it in time. Dejected, I went back to the break room and started eating my lunch. The next thing I knew, Rutledge came through the door, saying, "You didn't get to do my tasting!" He sat down and explained how to taste bourbon, the ten recipes of Four Roses, and how it was different than other distilleries. I had liked bourbon before that point, but Jim Rutledge made me care about it. That's the beautiful thing about the bourbon industry- the people love what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Now here we are. :)