How To Find Good Once Used Bourbon Barrels
Here are Some Tips That Will Help Ensure You Get The Right Bourbon Barrels for Your Distillery or Brewery.
Bourbon production is on the rise with no end in sight. America’s native spirit has seen major growth in recent years. In 2016 nearly 22 million 9-liter cases of bourbon & Tennessee whiskey were sold in the United States. This generated 3.1 billion in revenue for distillers. With the rise in bourbon production there has been an increased demand for bourbon barrels which are a necessary ingredient. Millions of bourbon barrels are made each year to keep pace.
By law bourbon must be made in the United States. Further more the law states that bourbon must be made in a brand new charred oak barrel. Due to the fact that the rest of the worlds spirits producers do not have to abide by such a laws, the bourbon barrel is often seen as the go to barrel for aging a variety of spirits around the globe. In this article I hope to highlight some key factors to note when searching for the infamous American bourbon barrel.
Location is everything!
Although a once used bourbon barrel can be found in virtually all 50 states it stands true that well over 90% of bourbon production takes place in the state of Kentucky. Working with a supplier in the state of Kentucky may be your best bet. Here are a few key reasons.
- Lower overall shipping costs
- Your supplier has a face to face relationship with local bourbon producers
- Faster shipping timelines
- Freshly dumped barrels ready to go
Selection & Repair
Its important that your supplier has a strict selection policy, and quality trained coopers on staff. After all what good is a once used bourbon barrel if it leaks? Your supplier should be able to walk you through the selection, and repair process in such a way that you know exactly what it is you will be getting. There are standards in the industry that should be followed. Often the bourbon barrel selection process can be broken down into 3 categories.
- #1 select bourbon barrel
- #2 select bourbon barrel
- Distillery run bourbon barrel
Freshly dumped Bourbon barrels
One the many reasons choosing a bourbon barrel supplier based Kentucky is important is that the industry standard guarantees that they will not send you a barrel that was emptied more than 2 months prior to shipping. However companies like Country Connection who’s cooperage is situated in Louisville Kentucky guarantee there barrels will be dumped no more than 30 days prior to shipment. In fact most of their barrels are shipped within a week, or two of being dumped. This quick turn around time means the bourbon barrels are fresh, tight, and give off no foreign odors.
A quality bourbon barrel should be 100% ready to re fill. There should be no leaking that takes place due to a cracked stave, or a busted barrel head. If the heads are sealed properly, and all the staves are sound this shouldn’t be a problem. A good cooper should be able to identify if a barrel might have a problem, and pressure test to make certain. However its worth noting the importance of rehydrating your barrels upon receiving them. After spending 20-30 days in a shipping container they can dry out some. It must be made in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be made in Kentucky, although 95 percent of the world’s supply is. Check out this great article from CNBC to learn more Go abroad to invest in Kentucky bourbon