Brown-Forman Cooperage Celebrates 70 Years - Barrel Charring

When you consider the fact that 100% of a bourbon whiskeys color and more than 50% of its flavor comes from the new, charred, American White Oak barrel that its matured in, you understand the value of those barrels. That’s why in 1945, Brown-Forman purchased a onetime woodworking factory and converted it into what is now one of the world’s largest barrel making facilities.

1st Brown-Forman Cooperage Barrel Head
Brown-Forman Cooperage 1946 Barrel Head
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The Brown-Forman Cooperage put out its first barrel in 1946. To celebrate 70 years of barrel-making excellence the company paused operations at the facility and invited all employees to gather to commemorate the occasion. Throughout the ceremony, attendees were reminded just how much the cooperage meant to the employees, the distilling process, and ultimately the whiskey that is loved by consumers around the world.

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Master Distiller Chris Morris Talks About the Cooperages History

The Brown-Forman Cooperage is home to roughly 300 employees where more than 2,500 barrels per day are hand-crafted for the aging of spirits such as Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Early Times, Canadian Mist, el Jimador, and Herradura. Brown-Forman is the only major spirits company to own and operate a new whiskey barrel-making facility.

In 2016, more than 600,000 American White Oak barrels will be produced at the cooperage. Due to the growing demand for bourbon and other American whiskeys, the cooperage operates and produces barrels for more than 16 hours a day. The cooperage employees were honored for their pride, commitment, and dedication to their craft.

“No matter where you are in the world, if you have a glass of Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Early Times, or our tequilas, Herradura and el Jimador, keep in mind that every drop was aged in a barrel that one of our cooperages made,”

“One-hundred percent of the color and arguably more than 50% of the flavor are the result of the work the men and women at our cooperages have done” said Chris Morris, Brown-Forman master distiller and spirits historian.

 “We don’t make Jack Daniel’s here. We don’t make Woodford Reserve here. We don’t make Old Forester here. We don’t make Early Times here. We make them better.”
~ Alex Alvarez, Borwn-Forman Senior Vice President and Chief Production Officer

The ceremony concluded with a commemorative “barrel roll” by the most senior employee, Charlie Harden, who has been working at the cooperage for more than 40 years. At the end of the “barrel roll” Charlie and his other team members were the first to sign the commemorative barrel.

Tours of the Brown-Forman Cooperage are available exclusively through Mint Julep Tours.

Charlie Harden with 40+ Years at the Cooperage is 1st to Sign the Barrel Head
Brown-Form Cooperage Charlie Harden
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Cooperage Employees with 30+ Years of Employment
Brown-Forman Cooperage 30 Plus Years
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Master Distiller Chris Morris Signs the Commemorative Barrel Head
Brown-Forman Cooperage - Chris Morris
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Commemorative Barrel Head Saw Lots of Love
Brown-Forman Cooperage 70 Year Celebration Barrel
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