Husband and wife in the frame for award

Kristen and Ross Hunter of Whisky Frames.
Kristen and Ross Hunter of Whisky Frames.

An innovative business run by a husband and wife, turning old whisky barrels into picture frames, is up for a local business award.

Kristen Hunter runs Whisky Frames with her husband Ross from a workshop at Thornton Farm near Rosewell, close to their home, turning Scotch single malt whisky barrels into picture frames.

The couple are delighted to be nominated for the Business Start Up Award in the Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, up against fellow Midlothian nominees Fayre Tasty and Cross Borders Brewery, with the winner announced on October 26.

Kristen said: “We are thrilled, over the moon about it. It’s great just to be honoured for the hard work as a family business, it means a big deal.

“We started our entrepreneurial spirit when I was eight months pregnant and there wasn’t much time until I had our daughter Louise, and she will be one this month.

“We had started selling the frames at Christmas markets in 2015, so we were just doing a bit when we could.

“Then when I went on maternity leave we decided it was a good time to give it a go and now we have almost 200 stockists, we export to America and Europe. So it’s been a really busy year!”

In that time the couple have been joined by three new staff members in the workshop helping make the frames. Ross also has his luxury glamping accommodation pods business, while his wife ran cafes in Edinburgh before going on maternity leave and has never returned.

Kristen explained how she came up with the idea of turning whisky barrels into picture frames, she said: “I made my husband a frame out of recycled barn wood so I got to thinking about what we could use. And how this would be good for people to bring back from Scotland as a souvenir, and we started from there.

“We go through ten casks a week, at 35 frames per cask that is 350 frames every week.

“We keep reinvesting in the machinery and staff to keep up with demand.”

Whisky Frames, which numbers every frame so the customer can check the company’s website to see which distillery the barrel came from, has also been nominated for two Great British Entrepreneurial Awards.

Kristen added: “I think everybody likes a story and there’s quite a lot of history in the whisky world.”