Feb. 5, 2013 — A major supplier to Kentucky’s bourbon whiskey industry and the largest barrel manufacturer in the world has selected Rowan County for its fifth stave mill to supply white oak lumber to barrel-making plants (cooperages) on five continents.
Independent Stave Company (ISC) of Lebanon, Mo., is purchasing 62 acres of land here because of global demand for the high quality white oak timber in this region, according to Teri Smith, ISC’s marketing director.
A stave is a wooden slat that is fitted with others to create a barrel.
The $7.2 million facility will be operated by American Stave Company, an ISC subsidiary, which says it intends to purchase and process white oak timber from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.
Smith said the log buying yard will be established as soon as the property purchase is completed. Construction of the stave mill will begin soon afterward.
The exact location of the ISC facility has not been disclosed. However, it will not be in either of the two business parks on KY 801.
In its application for state tax incentives, ISC told the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) last Thursday that its Rowan County mill would have a workforce of 45 jobs after activation and reach a target of 70 about two years later.
KEDFA approved just over $1 million in tax breaks for the project. The company said its average hourly wage target, including benefits, would be $19.
In addition to providing staves to its own five cooperages, the oak will be exported to ISC’s subsidiary, Stave Associates International, which sells staves to other cooperages in Europe, South America, Africa and Australia.
Brett Traver, executive director of the Morehead-Rowan County Economic Development Council, Inc. (EDC), said Rowan County competed with several other locations to land the stave mill.
“The company could have chosen any number of locations but the work of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and all of our partners helped make this possible,” he stated.
“This is an opportunity for the region to further capitalize on a great natural resource and grow more good paying jobs here. The wood industry has an annual economic impact of $6 billion in Kentucky and Rowan County is a strong part of this important industry. ISC will be a great addition to our local economy.”
Smith said that ISC invests in its communities through a corporate program, ISC Cares, and through scholarships to aspiring business and engineering students.
The company’s website describes ISC as “a dynamic, global company reaching customers in 40 countries and cooperages around the world. Every day, millions of people enjoy beverages in our wine and whiskey barrels.”
Founded by T. W. Boswell in 1912, ISC initially focused on white oak staves and headers. J. E. Boswell expanded into the bourbon barrel business in 1951 and John Boswell later added the wine barrel division.
Now led by President Brad Boswell, the company has subsidiary cooperages in Napa, Calif.; Bordeaux, France; Santiago, Chile; Paarl, South Africa; and Adelaide, Australia.
The company’s international subsidiary sells American, French and other European oak to cooperages worldwide.
Keith Kappes can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.