Barrel manufacturer Independent Stave Co. will create 220 jobs for Kentuckians with a new $66.5 million cooperage in Morehead, Gov. Matt Bevin announced Thursday.
“Independent Stave is a strong corporate partner to Kentucky with multiple locations across the commonwealth. This new investment, which will create 220 jobs in Eastern Kentucky, is the latest sign that ISC has truly made itself at home in our state,” Gov. Bevin said. “The bourbon industry plays a significant role in our economy, and that extends to cooperages and other sectors. We are grateful to the company for its continued commitment to Kentucky and are excited about its prospects for continued growth in the future.”
ISC plans to buy land in Rowan County for its cooperage and purchase new machinery and equipment to outfit the barrel-making plant. Strong demand in the bourbon and whiskey industry prompted the new project. Building in Morehead will create production flexibility and logistical advantages.
ISC opened a stave mill in Morehead in September 2015, which will supply the new cooperage. Company leaders plan to start the cooperage’s construction in early 2019 and open by July 2021.
“Our strategic plan has been simple – continue investing to best support our customers and the ongoing growth of the wine and spirits industry,” said Brad Boswell, CEO of ISC and fourth-generation cooper. “After looking at several locations for a cooperage, we decided on land in Rowan County. The proximity to our stave mills as well as access to cooperage quality white oak in the surrounding area makes this the perfect location to build our third bourbon barrel cooperage. Rowan and the neighboring counties also provide a skilled workforce to draw from to make high quality products in a technical environment.”
ISC, a family-owned cooperage company headquartered in Missouri, reaches distilleries, wineries and breweries in more than 40 countries. The Boswell family founded the company in 1912, first as a domestic supplier of staves, and today as a cooperage company crafting a wide range of barrels and oak products.
The company owns seven stave mills in total: one in northeastern France and six American oak mills.
Among its US operations are the 105-employee Morehead Wood Products in Rowan County, Benton Wood Products in Marshall County, which opened in fall 2017, the 460-employee Kentucky Cooperage in Marion County and the recently announced Kentucky Bourbon Barrel facility in Louisville. It also operates mills and cooperages in Missouri, Indiana and Ohio.
Sen. Stephen West of Paris expressed gratitude for the investment and job creation.
“On behalf of the citizens of Morehead, we welcome Independent Stave Company’s expansion in our region as it brings 220 new jobs and a $66.5 million investment to our community,” West said. “Senate District 27 continues to be a leader in workforce development in our commonwealth, and I congratulate Independent Stave Company on its growth as the company continues to create the backbone of one of Kentucky’s signature industries.”
Rep. Rocky Adkins noted the impact the project could have on the region.
“Independent Stave Company’s $66.5 million investment – and the 220 new jobs that go with it – is a game changer for the Morehead-Rowan County community and will have a positive economic impact on this region for years to come,” Adkins said. “This state-of-the-art facility will be a perfect complement to what the company already has here, so I want to thank Independent Stave Company for making this announcement and for solidifying its leading role as a first-class corporate citizen.”
Morehead Mayor Jim Tom Trent acknowledged the company’s dedication to the region.
“We are very excited that Independent Stave Company has decided to grow their operations in Morehead with the addition of this state-of-the-art cooperage,” Trent said. “This investment of over $60 million, as well as the addition of 220 new well-paying jobs to our community, further confirms their commitment to making a difference in our region.”
Rowan County Judge-Executive Walter Blevins said ISC has had a positive impact on the community.
“We appreciate having Independent Stave's Morehead Wood Products facility here. The good paying, high quality jobs have made a dramatic impact in our region,” Blevins said. “We could not be more excited and appreciative of the announcement of this great new facility bringing 220 new additional jobs with a $66.5 million investment. Jobs of this quality have and will continue to change the lives of many families in our area.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in March preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $3 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program.
The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
Additionally, KEDFA approved ISC for up to $500,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
ISC also 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.
In fiscal year 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.