Tasting flights were once something reserved for fine wine or Scotch. These days, most local craft breweries offer flights of beer so customers can sample some of everything.

Now you can play beer sommelier (or cicerone, if you want to be more precise), and construct tasting flights at home with a piece of pro equipment – beer paddles made by Jeremy and Amparo Randall, owners of JT Woodworks in Lewiston.

It began a few years ago when the couple made some cutting boards from scraps left over from a hardwood floor installation. A company in Australia found the boards online, and asked JT Woodworks to make beer paddles. A side business was born.

Amparo Randall works in the business full time; Jeremy Randall is a home brewer who participates in the woodworking business when he’s not at his full-time job as a software developer.

The wood for the paddles – primarily walnut, maple and ash – comes from Fat Andy’s Hardwood in North Yarmouth. Someone in Freeport does laser engraving on the boards.

“A lot of people like to have their names engraved on the boards,” Jeremy Randall said. “They’ll come up with a fictitious brewery name and have that engraved on the board. We’re small enough that if they want them customized a little bit, we’ll do that.”

Most of the boards have three, four or five “holders,” or indentations, for glasses, and they cost $10-$15, depending on the size and amount of customization.

“We had a customer last year who wanted it to look like a ski, so I think there were 24 (holes),” Jeremy Randall said, laughing.

The boards are sold only online, mostly on the JT Woodworks Etsy.com site.

The Randalls also make shelving and cutting boards, but the beer paddles have become such a huge part of their business, they have expanded to make tasting boards for wine and spirits. Even ice cream parlors have purchased the boards for ice cream tastings, and the Randalls think ciders will be next.

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