There’s a serious problem in the whiskey world right now- counterfeit whiskey. Counterfeiters will take used whiskey bottles, refill them with the wrong whiskey, and sell it as a genuine rare collectible. Chad Hartsfield of ReWicked Candles has come up with a genius solution – reusing your old whiskey bottles to make candles and home décor. The Whiskey Wash recently caught up with him to learn more:
How did you come up with the idea of putting candles into used bourbon bottles?
I was mulling around the idea of developing a product using materials sourced from recycled or discarded items and noticed all the glass bottles in recycling bins around town. While trying to come up with the best way to utilize them, I hit upon the idea of candles and started to experiment with recycled wine bottles. After presenting them to shops and people around town, a friend with a local store that sells handmade goods and local-centric items suggested I try making them from bourbon bottles.
What makes your candles superior?
The main thing we do different from everyone else is put a lot of focus on the quality of the containers they are poured into. We hand select the bottles with the cleanest labels and then put a lot of time into cutting, sanding, and polishing our bottles to make sure they are not sharp or uneven and free of defects such as chips and cracks. We also use an eco-friendly soy wax and custom mix a large amount of the scents we use in house.
Do you have a particular scent or bottle you find is more popular?
Charred Oak Barrel and Kentucky Bourbon are two of our most popular scents. Both of those are custom mixed scents that we have developed and are singular to our company. Bottle wise, I’d say it’s a tossup between Maker’s Mark and Jameson.
What else do you make with empty bourbon bottles?
We make pendant lights and desk lamps using antique replica parts such as cloth covered wire, Bakelite style wall plugs, and carbon filament Edison bulbs. We’ve recently started to produce the same desk lamps, but with a modern wire and LED light source. It’s a nice mix of the new and the old. We feel that it places them firmly in the 21st century, yet keeps the rustic old world charm of our original lamps and blends that with the modern feeling of a cleaner and more discrete light source.
If folks are concerned about their empty bottles being refilled and sold as counterfeit on the secondary market, how can they get them to you for a legitimate reuse?
They can contact us through our Etsy page or on Facebook. From there we can work out a deal to trade their bottles for credits towards our products. If the bottles are damage free and have intact labels, common bourbon bottles normally bring $2.00 each, with harder to find bourbon bottles bring a bit more depending on brand and age.
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