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Elijah Craig wasn’t afraid to set fire to convention. As the first to char oak barrels to make Bourbon, he changed whiskey-making in America forever. In honor of his innovative spirit, we’re celebrating entrepreneurs who are torching the status quo in areas like fashion, food and charity. Get to know The Fire Starters.

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Colin Hunter & Peyton Jenkins

Chase
Fancher

Founder of
Oak & Oscar

Daniel Burnham, the city planner of Chicago, once said, "Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men's blood." For Chase Fancher, these had always been words to live by—but they didn't become a reality until he decided to torch the status quo and launch his own watch company, Oak & Oscar. LEARN MORE

Mia and Laura

Mia Saini
& Laura Lisowski

Co-founders of
Oars + Alps

Oars + Alps is an all-natural skincare line for men who lead rugged, active lifestyles, but the idea for the brand was actually sparked by two ambitious career women. Mia Saini Duchnowski and Laura Lisowski Cox quit their high-profile jobs to blaze their own trail, creating premium products for men who are always on-the-go. LEARN MORE

Jordan Goetz

Jordan
Goetz

Growler Domestics

For furniture designer Jordan Goetz, there’s something special about working with natural materials. It guarantees that every piece will be unique and different from the next— and that’s what he’s after with Growler Domestics: the handcrafted furniture and home décor company he founded in Austin, Texas.LEARN MORE

Colin Hunter & Peyton Jenkins

Peyton Jenkins
& Colin Hunter

Co-founders of
Alton Lane

Alton Lane was co-founded by college friends, Colin Hunter & Peyton Jenkins. Since their early days in 2009, they’ve been torching the status quo in the men’s retail industry with a blend of technology and bespoke menswear.LEARN MORE

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Daniel Burnham, the city planner of Chicago, once said, "Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men's blood." For Chase Fancher, these had always been words to live by—but they didn't become a reality until he decided to torch the status quo and launch his own watch company, Oak & Oscar. Learn more

old fashioned

Old Fashioned Chase's Drink of choice

A classic Bourbon cocktail best enjoyed when made with Elijah Craig Small Batch.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
  • .5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 3 Dashes of Angostura® Bitters
  • 1 Brandied Cherry
  • 1 Slice of Orange

METHOD

In a mixing glass add cherry, orange and bitters. Gently muddle as to break up the fruit. Next add simple syrup, Elijah Craig Small Batch and ice. Stir until well chilled. Fill a rocks glass with fresh ice, strain cocktail over ice and garnish with a orange twist..

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open video play

Oars + Alps is an all-natural skincare line for men who lead rugged, active lifestyles, but the idea for the brand was actually sparked by two ambitious career women. Mia Saini Duchnowski and Laura Lisowski Cox quit their high-profile jobs to blaze their own trail, creating premium products for men who are always on-the-go. Learn more

mint-julep

MINT JULEP Mia's Drink of choice

The Derby wouldn't be the same without a traditional Mint Julep. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this one all year long.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
  • .5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 5 Mint Leaves
  • 1 Sprig of Fresh Mint for Garnish

METHOD

In either a julep or highball glass place mint leaves on the bottom and gently muddle. Next add simple syrup and fill the glass with cracked ice. Add Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon and stir until the glass is frosted. Garnish with a mint sprig.

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open video play

For furniture designer Jordan Goetz, there’s something special about working with natural materials. It guarantees that every piece will be unique and different from the next— and that’s what he’s after with Growler Domestics: the handcrafted furniture and home décor company he founded in Austin, Texas. Learn more

old fashioned

Eli's Vanilla Flip Jordan's Drink of choice

This combination of Bourbon, cinnamon, and nutmeg is the perfect mix for an after dinner drink. Here's to that.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch
  • 1 oz. Licor 43®
  • 1 Whole Raw Egg
  • 5 oz. Brown Sugar Simple Syrup

METHOD

Add ingredients into shaker and dry shake (without ice) until all ingredients are emulsified. Add ice and shake vigorously. Pour and strain into ice filled rocks glass. Grate fresh nutmeg on top and garnish with cinnamon stick..

Share PRINT

open video play

Alton Lane was co-founded by college friends, Colin Hunter & Peyton Jenkins, while attending the University of Virginia. Since their early days in 2009, they’ve been torching the status quo in the men’s retail industry with a blend of technology and bespoke menswear. Learn more

old fashioned

Old Fashioned Colin's Drink of choice

A classic Bourbon cocktail best enjoyed when made with Elijah Craig Small Batch.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
  • .5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 3 Dashes of Angostura® Bitters
  • 1 Brandied Cherry
  • 1 Slice of Orange

METHOD

In a mixing glass add cherry, orange and bitters. Gently muddle as to break up the fruit. Next add simple syrup, Elijah Craig Small Batch and ice. Stir until well chilled. Fill a rocks glass with fresh ice, strain cocktail over ice and garnish with a orange twist..

Share PRINT

forbidden-sour

Manhattan Peyton’s DRInk of choice

A drink for those who appreciate the classics. Add this one to your list immediately.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch
  • .75 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

METHOD

Stir and strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Share PRINT

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Colin Hunter
& Peyton Jenkins

Co-founders of Alton Lane

Alton Lane was co-founded by college friends, Colin Hunter & Peyton Jenkins. Since their early days in 2009, they’ve been torching the status quo in the men’s retail industry with a blend of big data and bespoke menswear.

It all started when Hunter and Jenkins began moving up in the professional world and needed a wardrobe that matched their ambitions, but neither was able to find a retailer that offered the experience they were looking for. Jenkins describes it by saying, “I’m that weird anomaly of the male demographic that enjoys the shopping experience, yet there’s no place that I felt comfortable.” With that realization, the idea of Alton Lane was born. From there, the co-founders began their efforts in earnest, quickly mapping out the landscape and strategizing their path forward, all with a focus on delivering the one-of-a-kind experience that both were hungry to see in the marketplace.

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“We believe that experience is the final frontier of retail.” says Peyton Jenkins. To say that Alton Lane has delivered on that belief is an understatement. Their thirteen showrooms across the country feel less like a retail establishment and more like an upscale man cave, complete with overstuffed leather chairs, flat screen TVs, and a fully stocked bar. Upon entering for an appointment customers are greeted by a staff member who sits down with them over a drink at the bar. During this time, they get to know each customer on a personal level. All with the goal of making the shopping experience an enjoyable one.

From there, new customers are guided to Alton Lane’s 3D body scanner that captures their exact measurements across thousands of data points, ensuring that every piece of clothing fits to an exacting standard. Staff then combines this trove of data with their one-on-one customer conversation, guiding each client through a range of fashion options tailored to client’s tastes and needs. Customers make final selections and within a few weeks, a personalized box arrives at their door with their custom clothing. Once measured, customers can also purchase their custom apparel via the website That’s it. No high pressure sales person, no long lines, no browsing through multiple stores to find the right piece of clothing. That’s the Alton Lane difference.

“We would rather have fewer customers on a given day and build a relationship that’ll last 20 years.” These words from Colin Hunter perfectly capture the Alton Lane philosophy and quickly get to the heart of why they’re upending the status quo in men’s retail. With their old-school-meets-new-school attitude and a singular focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience, it’s no wonder why Alton Lane is blazing a trail to success.

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Jordan Goetz

Growler Domestics

For furniture designer Jordan Goetz, there’s something special about working with natural materials. It guarantees that every piece will be unique and different from the next—and that’s what he’s after with Growler Domestics: the handcrafted furniture and home décor company he founded in Austin, Texas. Guided by his personal mantra, “Work hard, live well,” Goetz has spent the last seven years fueling his passion, mastering new techniques, and evolving his hobby into a successful design business.

While he has always loved design, Goetz was not always sure about the medium he wanted to work in. Woodworking was just something he picked up, using old tools and salvaged wood from demolished homes. Soon, however, he was spending as much time building furniture as he was bartending. Then came a turning point.

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“I got a call asking me to design and fabricate all the furniture for a coffee shop,” he says, “and I kind of took a step back and realized that this is it. This is the moment that I get to follow my dream.” He turned Growler into a full-time occupation, and although it hasn’t always been easy being his own boss and “lighting that fire” every day, he’s never looked back.

At Growler, Goetz crafts high-end, one-of-a-kind pieces, for both residential and commercial purposes. He believes the best products—whether furniture or Bourbon—start with the best materials, and his work features walnut, mahogany, even marble. He also sets fire to convention with unusual techniques like Shou Sugi Ban: a traditional Japanese method for charring wood. “I like to add my own touch, just like Elijah Craig did,” Goetz says of his approach. “Elijah Craig being the first to char his barrels, to try something new—that’s something that really resonates with me.”

Today, Growler Domestics counts Rolling Stone, Austin City Limits, and Brooklyn Bowl among its clients—and gets nearly all its commissions by word-of-mouth. It’s a testament not only to Goetz’s thoughtful design process, but his strong convictions. “I try every day to push myself and not be afraid. That's kind of where Growler got its name,” Goetz explains. “It’s an attitude and a way of approaching a challenge. Not backing down and never thinking, ‘No, you can't do that.’ I’m going to do it.” That’s what it takes to be a Fire Starter.

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MIA SAINI DUCHNOWSKI AND LAURA LISOWSKI COX

Co-founders of Oars + Alps

Oars + Alps is an all-natural skincare line for men who lead rugged, active lifestyles. But the idea for the brand was actually sparked by two ambitious career women. In 2015, co-founders Mia Saini Duchnowski and Laura Lisowski Cox decided to quit their high-profile jobs and blaze their own trail. The result? Premium products for men who love the outdoors and are always on-the-go.

"My husband was always borrowing my products, and that was problematic," explains Duchnowski, who at the time was working as a TV anchor. "But when I dug deeper, I realized that his interest in skincare stemmed from the fact that he was interested in his health." She shared this insight with friends, including Cox: a digital marketing expert who was also married to a very active "guy's guy.”

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Duchnowski and Cox realized that while the market was saturated with products for women, no skincare line checked all the right boxes for their husbands. Products were too fussy, too costly, or laden with too many toxic chemicals. So, they did what any Fire Starter would do. They ‘took to the oars’ in a bid to torch the status quo.

“‘Take to the oars’ essentially means that no one's going to help you to get from point A to point B,” Duchnowski explains. “If you want to get across that river, you've got to do it yourself.” Though neither had any experience in the skincare industry, Duchnowski and Cox believed they could create a better product experience for men that was comfortable, approachable, and affordable.

Named after their husbands’ shared passions for rowing and skiing, Oars + Alps launched in 2016 as a digitally native, direct-to-consumer brand. Their products are sustainably made, travel-friendly, and contain only all-natural ingredients—including alpine caribou moss from the Arctic Circle. It’s as tough and resilient as the Oars + Alps ‘Oarsman’—and the female entrepreneurs who started it all.

“Creating an exceptional product is hard. Creating an exceptional brand is even harder,” Duchnowski admits. “But it's worth the time and the energy, and if you have passion, then nothing's going to stop you.” That’s what we call a true Fire Starter.

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Chase Fancher

Founder of Oak & Oscar

Daniel Burnham, Chicago’s famed city planner, once said, “Make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men's blood." For Chase Fancher, these have always been words to live by—but they didn’t become a reality until he decided to torch the status quo and launch his own watch company, Oak & Oscar.

Fancher's fascination with watches—or as he describes them, "little engines attached to your wrist"—goes back to his childhood. But as an adult, he was working a corporate job that left him uninspired. "For me, it was important to get out there and do something on my own," he says. "Something that I could put all of myself into...Something that could last a lifetime."

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That desire sparked a watchmaking passion project, which soon grew into a force to be reckoned with. Fancher had strategies, designs, even a watch prototype. But taking the next step and to launch a business would mean quitting his job. He asked his father for advice. "He said to me, 'What would you tell your future kid? Would you tell them to play it safe, or would you tell them to go for it?'" Fancher recalls. "I knew from that minute on that I had to take it seriously."

Fancher named his venture Oak & Oscar: a nod to his love of Bourbon and his dog. He spent a whole year sourcing the right leather for his straps, and countless hours perfecting dials, numeral designs, and cases with his Swiss production team. For a more personal touch, he even began including bespoke Bourbon recipes in every watch wallet. "We have a saying," he says. "'Every good watch deserves a good drink.'"

Their meticulous craftsmanship and amazing customer service paid off. Oak & Oscar's first two releases, the Burnham and the Sandford, sold out; and with their latest model, the Jackson, they continue to build an exquisite collection. Meanwhile, at their Chicago headquarters, Fancher has created a holistic brand experience that's replete with his favorite things: timepieces, Bourbon, his dog—and more time to do what he loves. While 'making no little plans' hasn't been easy, blazing his own trail has definitely been worth it.