Celebrate With Pappy

Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels
Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels

Exquisite woodworking can seem like a dying art in the age of mass production, but for James Broyhill, it’s in his blood.  Sound like a familiar name? That’s because James is the great-grandson of the founder of Broyhill Furniture Industries, a North Carolina landmark furniture empire for over a century. Today, James Broyhill has taken the soul of his family’s history and combined it with a fresh new tradition. He owns and operates a Charlotte-based woodwork company, Heritage Handcrafted.

James Broyhill displaying the inside of this beautiful bourbon barrel gift box.
James Broyhill displaying the inside of this beautiful bourbon barrel gift box.

Broyhill put in his time in the corporate world before leaving investment real estate in 2012 to pursue his craft. The Winston-Salem native learned woodworking at an early age from his maternal grandfather. All these years later, Heritage was born from those lessons in the true spirit of the all-American small business: a little backyard tinkering Broyhill did one day with some tools and an old whiskey barrel. That inkling of an idea to use wood from barrels just happened to stick.

Fast-forward to 2012, and Broyhill had begun creating and selling Heritage Handcrafted’s richly detailed, exclusive pieces. Today, he builds from his local Charlotte workshop and sells nationally – everything from benches, chairs, and sinks to light fixtures and upscale accessories. Heritage is a careful mixture of the Broyhill family legacy of furniture with some unexpected twists as well; items like artisan gift boxes, cufflinks, and shaving kits.

Broyhill’s most recent venture is a nod to another long-standing empire – Pappy & Company, the owners of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Kentucky’s capital. The partnership between the two resulted in a super-exclusive new line of custom wood gift boxes. Broyhill says he was “inspired by Pappy’’s similarly long tradition of hand-crafting, and “wanted to create a memento that merged the great histories of both companies… and could be passed down through generations.””

A peek at the etched glassware inside the bourbon barrel gift box.
A peek at the etched glassware inside the bourbon barrel gift box.

The process is fine-tuned. Once Heritage Handcrafted receives barrels from Pappy Van Winkle – barrels originally used for aging Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23-year and 20-year bourbon – each one is broken down.  Using hand and power tools, individual barrel staves get separated by similar widths and the staves are then milled down. Broyhill takes each box, lines it with velvet, and fills it with crystal decanters, hand-blown glassware, and Pappy cigars.

With the history of woodwork so ingrained in his background, it’’s Broyhill’’s attention-to-detail with Heritage’s choice of wood that has made his line so distinctive, setting it apart on both the local and national stage.

Each piece comes from reclaimed wood of a variety of sources.

He chose to partner with area distilleries, wineries, and specialty retailers to source wood from century old barns and various bourbon, whiskey, and wine barrels. The resulting aesthetic is rustic: aged  wood with rich grain and distinct coloring that works as well on an Adirondack chair as on a pair of cufflinks.

With the business soaring three years into its inception, Heritage Handcrafted itself is a bit like the wood James Broyhill reclaims – an homage to a richly textured past with a newness that’s truly it’s own.

For a bit more info: www.heritage-handcrafted.com