Thursday, March 20, 2014
Rogue to Make Barrels in Oregon
The boom in American whiskey and American microdistilleries has led to new business for other industries, such as cooperages (i.e., barrel makers).
There are two major cooperages that serve whiskey producers, Brown-Forman and Independent Stave (ISC). Although Brown-Forman used to sell barrels to other whiskey producers, the demand for barrels has grown to the point where they now only have enough capacity to meet their own needs, which leaves ISC as the sole provider for everyone else.
Brown-Forman is currently building another cooperage close to Jack Daniel's. When that opens they may resume selling barrels to other producers. In the meantime, the boom has also induced companies to get into barrel making. In some cases, those companies previously operated stave mills (e.g., Minnesota's Barrel Mill), or were refurbishers of barrels for export to Scotland and other markets (e.g., Kelvin).
But Brown-Forman has long been the only distiller that also owns a cooperage. Last week, Oregon's Rogue Ales & Spirits announced that it is joining that exclusive club with the creation of Rolling Thunder Barrel Works, a tree to table outfit that will bring the old-world tradition of barrel cooperage to the Rogue World Headquarters in Newport, Oregon.
Instead of whining about the current, temporary 'barrel shortage' like some micros, Rogue is doing something about it.
"We are thrilled about Rolling Thunder Barrel Works," says Rogue President Brett Joyce. "Making our own Oregon Oak Barrels will provide us with endless possibilities for aging our ales, porters, stouts, lagers, braggots, meads, gins, vodka, rums, and whiskies. Coopering is a time-honored tradition and highly skilled craft that will have a great home in Newport. This adventure will be full of learning and discovery and while we're not exactly sure what the final products will look like, we are certain that it's going to be a lot of fun along the way."
The white oak will be hand-selected from the centuries-old oak groves of the Oregon Coast Range, less than 100 miles from Newport. Using Oregon White Oak furthers Rogue's commitment to brewing and distilling with a proprietary palate of flavors; all of Rogue's world-class beers and spirits are crafted with Rogue Farms ingredients grown on its two farms in Independence and Tygh Valley, Oregon.