In 2021 Kentucky reported more than 10 million barrels of bourbon aging in rickhouses around the state. One of the legal requirements of bourbon making is that it requires the use of a new charred oak container (barrel). That means once those 10 million barrels hit their maturity and are dumped to fill bottles, they can no longer be used to make bourbon. They can however have an after life with many other spirits like whiskey, Scotch or any number of bourbon barrel finished gin, rum, moonshine, or any other spirit.
To handle all those barrels, Kentucky Cooperage LP Ltd, a full-service used barrel cooperage and subsidiary of Independent Stave Company, has announced a $4.1 million investment that will expand its existing used barrel operation in Marion County, Kentucky.
In addition to used bourbon barrels the company also sources used barrels from around the world that have previously aged other exotic spirits like used wine barrels, rum barrels, tequila barrels, pisco barrels and others.
“Independent Stave Co. is an important part of the bourbon industry in Kentucky, and I am glad to see the company expand its footprint at Kentucky Cooperage in Marion County,” said Kentucky Governor Beshear. “ISC provides quality jobs in four Kentucky communities, and the company’s continued growth is another positive sign for the long-term success of bourbon in the commonwealth.”
Expansion will Increase Kentucky Cooperage from 28k to 69k Square Feet
The expansion will more than double the size of the current 28,000-square-foot used barrel operation with a 41,000-square-foot addition. The project will provide increased warehouse and processing capacity to grow the number of used barrels serviced by the company. Kentucky Cooperage anticipates work on the expansion to begin this spring and be completed by February 2023. When completed the project is expected to add 20 new full-time jobs.
“In 2017, we entered the used barrel industry by partnering with Tim Ratliff and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel in Louisville, Kentucky,” said Brad Boswell, CEO of Independent Stave Company.
“Together, we grew the KBB used barrel operations by opening a facility in Lebanon. Today, we are proud to begin an expansion on that facility, which will give our customers even more options for used barrels. We appreciate the state of Kentucky’s continued support of the growing spirits industry.”
The company’s growth is in support of Kentucky’s thriving spirits industry, which includes more than 65 facilities employing over 5,000 people across Kentucky.
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State Sen. Jimmy Higdon said the project benefits the state, as well as the local region.
“It is certainly good news to hear of the Kentucky Cooperage expansion in Lebanon/Marion County,” Sen. Higdon said. “The new jobs and the investment in our industrial base will benefit our community, the region and the state. I would like to thank the Kentucky Cooperage family for being such outstanding corporate citizens.”
Marion County Judge/Executive David Daugherty thanked the company for its continued commitment to the community.
“It is great to see Kentucky Cooperage continue to grow in Marion County,” Judge Daugherty said. “We are so appreciative of every dollar they have invested and every new job they have created in our county since they first opened their doors in 1960. Kentucky Cooperage remains a worldwide leader in the coopering industry, and we are proud to have them in Marion County.”
Lebanon Mayor Gary Crenshaw said the project helps drive the local bourbon industry forward.
“The City of Lebanon is proud to support Kentucky Cooperage’s expansion. They are the premier barrel manufacturer in Kentucky,” Mayor Crenshaw said. “Each job that will be created as a result of this project will enhance our local economy and add to the luster of the bourbon industry in Marion County.”
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in January approved the company for up to $150,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
The company can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
Independent Stave Company, founded in 1912, is a family-owned cooperage headquartered in Missouri. The company initially serving as a domestic supplier of staves, and today operates as a cooperage company crafting a wide range of barrels and oak products for distilleries, wineries, and breweries in more than 40 countries. In addition to its U.S. facilities in Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, the company has international cooperage facilities around the globe.
The company owns seven stave mills, including one in northeastern France, and six American oak mills. Independent Stave maintains five locations in the Kentucky with operations in Benton, Lebanon, Louisville and Morehead, employing 685 people statewide.
Learn more about Independent Stave Company.