Shepherdsville veteran gives new purpose to old bourbon barrels

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local veteran is combining two American favorites. He hopes his new startup company involving old bourbon barrels will one day also serve as a new purpose for other veterans.

Morning, evening and sometimes in between, Chris Cruise can be found working out in his Shepherdsville garage. "Thanks to Pinterest, my wife, Amber gave me a book of about 160 pages and I built our dining room table and that's where it all started," Cruise said.

"I had no idea and I don't think think he realized how talented he was," Amber Cruise said.

What began as a home project has grown to something much more patriotic for both children of veterans. "I was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom," Chris said.

"Me being from Kentucky, bourbon, horse racing and all that and my husband being a veteran, we just decided to cross those paths," Amber said.

Bourbon barrels turned American flags waving. "I often think about who I'm making the flag for which is pretty cool because usually they're very patriotic or it's usually a former service member and we're putting the years of service in which they've served or their family members have served," Chris said.

Cruise Customs Flags are made from bourbon barrels out of Shepherdsville and cut with donated tools.

"We call the large one "The Colonel" and the small one The Lieutenant"," Chris said.

The process is led by the part-time woodworker with a vision to one day create jobs and a tranquil pastime. "The bourbon barrel staves once served a good purpose holding bourbon. So, we wanted to give veterans a new purpose once they get out of the military, and find their new purpose because they once served a great purpose too," Chris said.

A veteran-based bottle opening company seen on the show Shark Tank, an apparel company and the Huffington Post are all taking notice.

"You're buying into our vision of helping transitioning veterans," Chris said.

From an all American to all Americans, as Chris puts it.

"He's been an entrepreneurial heart all of his life and he's a very proud veteran and he's actually living out his dream," Amber said.

The flags have been packaged and shipped around the country in less than a year's time, spreading far and wide from the table where it all started. 

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