It’s often said that 50% to 75% of bourbon’s flavor comes from the oak barrel that the distilled spirit rests in. According to the TTB, “For bourbon, rye, wheat, malt or rye malt whiskies and straight whiskies, other than straight corn whisky (which must be stored in used or uncharred new oak containers), the oak container must be a charred new oak container.” In other words, barrels matter – a lot. As the spirits inside those barrels reach maturity the spirits are dumped and bottled for retail sale. That means there are a lot of used barrels. In today’s craft spirits and craft brewery world (not to mention Scotch), those barrels have a bright second life ahead of them.
Recognizing the value of the used barrel market, Independent Stave Company has announced a new partnership with an investment in four year old used barrel company, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel. Independent Stave Company is now co-owner of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel and plans to work alongside the company’s founder Tim Ratliff to continue building on the company’s success.
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Kentucky Bourbon Barrel is located in Louisville, Kentucky and currently has four full time employees. Their once and twice used barrels are sold to distilleries, wineries and breweries in the U.S. and throughout the world. Tim Ratliff will continue to serve as president and co-owner of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel, working with Independent Stave Company to build upon a strong foundation while also expanding the company’s sourcing and distribution networks, especially in international markets.
Ratliffe said, “I am excited to have found a partner who shares our vision, seeks to honor our founding principles, and brings more than 105 years of experience in the cooperage industry. We will evaluate potential for growth as we move forward, but our dedication to quality and service will remain top priority. KBB expects our clients to benefit from this partnership through greater availability and increased diversity in our product portfolio.”
“This investment will enable us to further support our existing clients by providing access to sought-after, previously-filled barrels offering unique nuances thanks to the original and sometimes exotic liquids the barrels have aged. We will work tirelessly with existing clients and suppliers to optimize the value of their freshly dumped barrels,” confirmed Brad Boswell, chief executive officer of Independent Stave Company. “Furthermore, we are fortunate to have found a partner who is firmly committed to ensuring quality, supporting clients with top-notch customer service, and serving as an important resource as our clients explore new expressions and innovation.”
Independent Stave Company and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel are both family-owned businesses.