POLK COUNTY, Fla. – It's an idea carved from a lifetime in baseball.
As a minor league pitcher, Randall Thompson wanted to break hitters' bats.
Now, as a businessman, the Orlando native takes birch barrels and turns them into mugs.
“I was coaching college baseball. I just saw a bunch of loose barrels sitting in the dugout and asked myself the question, ‘if I hollow this out can I drink from it,’” said Randall Thompson, founder, and president of Dugout Mugs in Winter Haven.
The idea came to him back in 2014.
He sketched a prototype, then eventually partnered with Kris Dehnert to help get the concept out of the batter's box.
“You know honestly I thought it was a little strange at first but he told me ‘I get that a lot, so just take it out and walk around with it for a couple of weeks and call me back’ and it didn’t take that long, it took a few days,” said Kris Dehnert, CEO of Dugout Mugs.
Now, Dugout Mugs in Winter Haven makes wine glasses and shot glasses too.
The company makes millions of sales and holds licenses with Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the minor leagues.
“We really just have to share this with people and people...they want it. So yeah, there are some objections but for the most part, baseball fans love drinking from baseball bats,” said Thompson. He added, “Though it’s not playing or coaching yeah this is definitely a way to stick around baseball in a way that I love doing.”