A FORMER design and technology teacher for more than 20 years has switched paths during lockdown to launch a company specialising in making bespoke minibars from old whisky barrels for clients including Outlander actor Sam Heughan and former Scotland rugby captain Greig Laidlaw.

Freddie Main created Oak & Black, which has just taken on its first placement through the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.

He hand-picks the barrels from a cooperage to recreate a mini bar with a full middle shelf, a smart lighting system, a built-in magnetic bottle opener, a hand-stamped personalised metal tag and a unique barrel number to trace it back to its origins.

The National:

In 2019, he contracted an illness that led to post-viral fatigue, which he continues to manage. But during lockdown he decided to create a whisky barrel bar for one of his friends.

With the positive feedback, Main decided to leave teaching and focus on his dream to make products from reclaimed wood and give them a new lease of life, which has allowed him to manage his own time and energy more effectively day-to-day.

Main said: “Creating barrel bars for clients is a dream come true for me – it is something I’ve wanted to do for years but didn’t have the time or energy.

“Lockdown gave me that time to make my first one and really assess whether it was a viable business model or not and I’m delighted that it’s definitely going in the right direction, especially securing orders for people like Sam Heughan, Jim Hamilton and Cask88, and taking on my first member of staff, which have given me a real boost.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my story about going from an employee to being a self-employed business owner and following my dreams at the next Love Your Business networking event – it’s a journey I love sharing and hope it inspires people to do something they are passionate about and that makes them feel happy.”