Here is some good bourbon news from now infamous Rowan County, Kentucky.
Independent Stave Company, the largest maker of oak barrels for the American whiskey industry, announced yesterday that its fifth American oak stave mill is now fully operational. Transformed from an empty 58-acre field to a state of the art stave mill in just two years, Morehead Wood Products is now supplying high quality staves to the company’s Kentucky Cooperage in Lebanon, Kentucky. This new stave mill is one of several Independent Stave projects to support the growing bourbon industry.
“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.”
Independent Stave 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.
When Independent Stave began researching locations for its fifth stave mill, Morehead quickly became a top contender thanks to an excellent work force and an ideal location surrounded by forests known for cooperage-quality white oak.
“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.”
Mike Knudson is the new mill’s general manager. Knudson has worked for the company for more than 21 years and has extensive experience in production supervision. Upon accepting his new role one year ago, he relocated with his family to Morehead to begin the hiring process.
“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.”
Presumably, that includes the Clerk of Rowan County, who will be on hand to make sure the staves are all straight.