As the world’s thirst for bourbon grows so does the need for new charred American Oak barrels. According to U.S. government guidelines bourbon must be stored in new charred oak containers. And contrary to popular belief it does not have to be made in Kentucky, it can be made in any state, it just so happens that Kentucky makes 95% of the world’s bourbon. All that bourbon requires a lot of barrels and startup venture Pennington Stave & Cooperage wants to help fill that need.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced startup manufacturer Pennington Stave and Cooperage Corp. plans to establish a mill in the Edmonton-Metcalfe County Industrial Park with a $34.4 million-plus investment expected to created up to 126 full-time jobs.
The new cooperage will be built about 45 minutes from Bardstown, Kentucky, the Bourbon Capital of the World. Once it is fully operation Pennington expects to make 400 to 500 barrels per day.
“Kentucky’s iconic bourbon industry has been an economic powerhouse for generations, and its current momentum is truly astounding,” Gov. Bevin said. “From barrel production to distillation, the commonwealth continues to be the perfect fit for any company tied to the production of bourbon and spirits. Congratulations to Pennington Stave and Cooperage, as they launch this innovative new endeavor in the industry and create exciting opportunities for the workforce of South Central Kentucky.”
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Pennington Stave & Cooperage selected a 38-acre site in the Edmonton-Metcalfe Industrial Park for the production of staves and barrels in service of the growing spirits and wine industries. The site includes a 30,000-square-foot spec building that will be finished and outfitted with equipment and technology to accommodate stave and heading production, timber seasoning and an on-site kiln for wood drying.
The Edmonton-Metcalfe County Industrial Authority also will construct a new 80,000-square-foot facility for lease by the company. The structure will operate as a cooperage for barrel assembly, charring and toasting to client specifications. Company leaders plan to use American white oak secured primarily from local logging companies and other regional sources.
“Pennington Stave and Cooperage is excited to locate our production facilities in Metcalfe County, Ky.,” said Chad Pennington, the company’s president. “Providing employment opportunities to over 100 citizens in our area will bring prosperity not only to Metcalfe County, but to surrounding counties as well. My management team is comprised of seasoned veterans with many years of experience in the spirits and wine industry, both on a domestic and international level. I want to thank Gov. Bevin and his staff, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Gordon Garrett of the Kentucky Small Business Development Center for their efforts in bringing this project to Metcalfe County.”
Pennington Stave & Cooperage aims to fill a growing need in the bourbon and American whiskey market. Annually, the industry requires production of more than 1.8 million barrels, and a lack of suppliers poses potential challenges in the future. The company also plans to implement state-of-the-art production methods and technology developed by Bohnert Equipment Co. and other entities to ensure a greater supply of high-quality barrels in place of more labor-intensive traditional methods.
Sen. David Givens, of Greensburg, said he looks forward to the company’s opening.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Pennington Stave and Cooperage to Metcalfe County,” Sen. Givens said. “This $34 million investment and 126 new Kentucky jobs created by it is huge for our region. I want to congratulate and thank Pennington Stave and Cooperage for choosing Edmonton as the home for their startup, and I cannot wait to see the products they are able to produce for our local spirits industry.
”Rep. Bart Rowland, of Tompkinsville, said Pennington Stave & Cooperage’s arrival will positively impact surrounding businesses.
“This is outstanding news for Metcalfe County and our entire region, and I want to welcome Pennington Stave and Cooperage and thank them for their investment in this community,” Rep. Rowland said. “Building a strong economy means supporting Kentucky entrepreneurs. Pennington’s investment in Metcalfe County will create jobs for 126 of our people, while also creating more demand for products sold by other local industries.”
Edmonton Mayor Doug Smith said the company provides an opportunity for local residents to work closer to home.
“I am thrilled Pennington Stave and Cooperage Corp. decided to locate in Edmonton,” Mayor Smith said. “The opportunity for the residents of Edmonton and Metcalfe County to live and work here is important to me. This will not only be good for the people of Edmonton and Metcalfe County but also for surrounding counties for generations to come.”
“We appreciate Gov. Bevin and his economic development team for helping to secure Pennington Stave and Cooperage’s location in our community,” said Metcalfe County Judge-Executive Stilts. “This project will have a positive impact on our local timber and logging businesses, and it will greatly benefit our local workforce. This is a wonderful addition to Metcalfe County.”
Paul Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of Tri-County Electric – which played an instrumental role in attracting the company to Metcalfe County – said this is the beginning of a fruitful relationship.
“Pennington Stave and Cooperage’s decision to locate in Metcalfe County will have a positive impact on this wonderful community,” Thompson said. “Tri-County Electric looks forward to working with and serving this facility and we will continue working with the Tennessee Valley Authority to promote economic development in our service area.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In addition, Pennington Stave & Cooperage can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.