Sometimes good things can come from difficult times.
Jeremy Allen Stanton discovered that when he founded Barrel Brands beard and tattoo oils. In searching for a way to find focus after a challenging experience in the military, Stanton landed upon meticulously crafting small batches of his oils in Collinsville, Ill. Now those oils are helping customers’ skincare routines around the country and giving Stanton a new sense of purpose.
“When you see me today and somebody says, ‘Man, that guy’s got a lot of passion,’ I don’t have any ‘passion.’ I’m very thankful,” Stanton suggests.
It’s a new beginning for Stanton after not being able to get a full night’s rest for more than 20 years of his life. At 19-years-old while stationed in Saudi Arabia for the United States Air Force, his good friend and 18 other airmen lost their lives. Stanton made it, but the years of survivor’s guilt following that day in June 1996 kept him up at night.
“I never knew why I was still alive,” he confesses.
His experience left an emptiness that needed to be filled.
A man with a full beard, Stanton had been struggling finding a suitable oil to maintain his beard and tattoos. His solution? Make his own. With an outlet that allowed him to focus some of the chaos from his past, he was now able to use the same military-minded drive on what would become a full-fledged business.
“I started realizing that if I wouldn’t have gone through those rigors back then that now I wouldn’t have this mindset or this attention to detail or this drive to always sort of want it to be a little bit better,” he notes.
From whole vanilla bean pods to pipe tobacco and even chocolate, the vitamin E-based infused oils, called Expressions, are infused with the finest natural ingredients Stanton can find. The plot twist for Stanton’s product came from a day brewing beer with a friend, when he had an idea to try aging the oils inside a spirit barrel. Six months later, the result was magical.
“It can be consuming,” Stanton says of the aging process. “Almost like a brewer, like a distiller. Always testing it. They’re always checking it and making sure it’s spot on exactly how it’s supposed to be.”
Launched in February of 2017, the pre-orders for Barrel Beard and Tattoo—now known as Barrel Brands—began. By the one year anniversary, a production facility was purchased in Collinsville to expand the business.
“I’m very grateful to be where I am. I have a lot of pride knowing that that another human wants me to do something to help them feel better,” he says. “Man, if that doesn’t keep a fire going in you to want to keep creating and keep one-upping yourself, I don’t know what does.”
Like any fine-aged spirit, Stanton takes his time when handcrafting the barrel-aged Expressions. He uses St. Louis distiller StilL 630 barrels for the six-month aging process and frequently makes collaborative Expressions with local partners such as 4 Hands Brewing Co.
“This thing that we’re doing has saved my life,” he states in a reflection on YouTube marking the year anniversary of the company. “This family that we’re building has put me on a path that I never even really considered before. Of both character growth and development, and the physical act of what we’re creating, is just all serendipity.”
The Barrel Brand family members are not just men with full beards and tattoos to condition, either. Every gender and age can find products to help with anything from repairing damaged hair to smoothing stretch marks and even easing dermatitis. Barrel Brands can be found in local shops around Missouri, Illinois and seven other states as well as online at barrelbrands.us.