Independent Stave Company has opened its fifth American oak stave mill and it’s now fully operational. Morehead Wood Products began operating in September on 58 acres in Morehead, Ky and is now supplying staves and heading to the company’s Kentucky Cooperage based in Lebanon, Ky. This new stave mill is one of several projects Independent Stave Company has established to support the growth of the bourbon industry.
The $10 million Morehead Wood Products manufacturing operation opened its doors in early September with one shift but will soon be adding a second. The mill also has plans to add a third shift in 2016 with total employment of around 70 within a few years.
“This has been an exciting time of investment and expansion as we support the significant growth our distilling customers are experiencing,” said Brad Boswell, president and fourth-generation cooper. “By production capacity, this new stave mill is now the second largest stave mill in the world, allowing us to greatly increase our supply of high-quality American white oak.”
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Independent Stave Company has a long heritage of serving the spirits industry since its inception in 1912, first as a domestic supplier of staves, and today as a cooperage company crafting a wide range of barrels and oak products. The company has maintained a longstanding philosophy of sourcing oak through company-owned stave mills to ensure quality, traceability and consistency from the very beginning of the process.
“Building a stave mill from scratch has many advantages, including the ability to optimize each step of the process through proven techniques and new innovations,” said Boswell. “We have pushed ourselves throughout the development process to build on our experience and look for ways to further improve our quality and processes – which then becomes a direct benefit to our distilling customers.”
Independent Stave Company has appointed Mike Knudson as the mill’s general manager. Knudson has worked for the company for over 21 years with extensive experience in production supervision.
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the community, both in welcoming us to Morehead and also submitting applications to join our team,” confirmed Knudson. “We appreciate the community’s support and look forward to a bright future.”