Independent Stave Company has announced the construction of a research center dedicated to oak innovation and experimentation for the distilled and craft spirits industry. Once complete, the new research center will serve as a cutting edge resource on oak maturation for its distilling customers around the globe.

“Independent Stave Company is committed to continuously improving the quality, consistency and variety of the barrels we offer,” said Brad Boswell, ISC president. “This research center is further evidence of how we translate that vision into action to the benefit of our customers.”

The ISC Research Center is being constructed in Lebanon, Ky. as an addition to the company’s Kentucky Cooperage campus. The research center will feature a laboratory, an extensive library of experiments, a professional tasting room and offices for ISC’s Kentucky-based research and customer service team.

Independent Stave Company - Technical Support Center Rendering

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Bring Us Your Ideas

“We are passionate about spirits, including working closely with distillers to foster innovation and develop new products,” said Andrew Wiehebrink, ISC director of spirit research and innovation. “Our ISC Research Center will serve as an excellent platform for our customers to learn about oak, explore the extensive product options available, and also pursue new ideas for a point of distinction in their own products.

We are looking at all the elements to build a barrel – oak species, wood age, barrel shape and size, how we engineer the barrels, all the materials used – to optimize the barrels we craft. We encourage distillers to bring us their ideas and challenges. We know how to transform ideas into reality, with sensory and science-backed results.”

ISC has conducted hundreds of barrel experiments since the 1990s and continues to lay down experimental barrels every year. The company’s innovation team has increased the number of experiments in play for the past three years and many of these projects will come of age for evaluation as the research center becomes fully operational.

“We don’t want to just talk about what is possible,” confirmed Jeff LaHue, ISC’s director of strategic partnerships. “Instead, we can demonstrate through blind tastings, sensory science and chemical analysis.”

As part of its mission, the research center will also explore how to enhance structural integrity and recovery yields.

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