Off Hours Bourbon - Made for the Moment In Between - One-on-One with Founder Jake Ireland
One-on-one with Jake Ireland, Founder of Off Hours Bourbon. Off Hours Bourbon is meant to engage our senses and change perceptions. It’s not about preconceived notions of artisanal cocktails and dimly lit bars. It’s for everyone, everywhere. So cheers to more inspiration. More real-life connections. More easygoing hangs, and less expectations. More time outdoors, less time behind our screens. After a long week or just because. Find the time and the moments in between. Find them with us in the Off Hours, gold medal winner at the World Wine & Spirits Competition in 2021.
Jamie Agoglia: I was joking with a friend earlier upon learning about your previous career as a physical therapist that perhaps it drove you to drinking a lot of bourbon and thus you simply thought you might as well create your own!
Jake Ireland: When you drink enough bourbon, it makes sense just to do your own thing (laughing)!
It makes sense of course to do that if you are an amazingly driven, talented, genius entrepreneur which you obviously are. If you think about it, it’s somewhat of a similar story to Casamigos. George and Rande wanted to create the perfect tequila that they loved drinking with friends and the rest is history.
I feel like their story and how they came up with it is very similar to how I came up with the Off Hours idea. I thought there was a gap with where other bourbons were playing. I originally went to play baseball in college and I had a shoulder injury my freshman year. So I had to go down the whole physical therapy path and really got into it. I wanted to treat athletes from a youth level all the way up to professional athletes. It wasn’t honestly until the last year of my last rotation, where I got a chance to intern at one of these places. The owner who had created the whole thing basically said if I were you, do not do this, it really kind of steered me away from it.
I then learned the entrepreneurial side of things in liquor with a lot of these startups and really had a good time with it and kind of got like a street MBA. So kind of thinking back through what we could’ve done differently and just those lessons learned. So I started working on Off Hours and the whole idea was creating a bourbon brand that was a little bit more about today’s ort of consumer drinker versus sort of the stereotypical bourbon drinker that I think a lot of people have in mind, where it’s sort of a middle-aged guy smoking a cigar in a dimly lit room.
I just felt a little bit younger, a little more of that millennial demographic was kind of pushing the bourbon trends. There were more females that were drinking it and less about a lot of these preconceived notions and it felt like a lot of brands previously were just sort of using the same old playbooks that have been done over and over and over again for the last 50, 60, 70, 80 years, where, it was built on a family heritage play or region where they were sourcing water, rain, etc.
The goal is to create that brand, do something that was a little bit more minimal, transparent, and let it speak for itself. Finding a way to make it relatable to the Midwest bourbon drinker and to the west coast bourbon drinker. I felt like the name Off Hours was something that everyone can relate to, regardless of what you do and how you spend those hours, and find ways to bring people together, to have conversations and build memories and have some fun with it and not make it so stuffy.
And obviously the industry is making money off that core demographic, and what you’re doing in all its simplicity and genius, is bourbon is a liquor, a spirit that can be and should be enjoyed by a massively, significantly greater segment of the population. While in only focusing on that core demographic you’re really alienating millions upon millions of people that would otherwise try it because you simply aren’t speaking to them…while now you, Jake, are speaking to them, with Off Hours Bourbon.
You hit the nail on the head. The younger demographic that we’re going after, they are a little bit more open to try new things if it speaks to them. Is it relatable to all these other aspects of my life? Using more social media, being a little more digital savvy. Let it be about them and what fits their life, their lifestyle.
Well said Jake. Off Hours Bourbon - “Made for the Moments in Between!”