By Taylor Bishop, Ozarks News Journal
When it comes to whiskey and wine, people automatically think of places like Kentucky and Napa Valley. But, few know that Missouri is where the majority of oak barrels are made.
The Independent Stave Company in Lebanon, Missouri has been crafting wine and whiskey barrels since 1912.
Brad Boswell is the president of the Independent Stave Company.
“My great grandfather, T.W. Boswell, started the business down in Wynona, Missouri,” said Boswell.
Every day, millions of people enjoy beverages aged in their barrels.
“A lot of our wine barrels go to California; that’s our biggest market. But we have great customers like Kendall Jackson Winery. That’d be our really big wine customer. Our biggest customer on the whiskey side is, no doubt, Jim Beam brands. So, if you like Jim Beam, Jim Beam Black Label or Knob Creek, those are all good products that we are fortunate enough to play a role in.”
The next time you see one of these popular bottles on the shelf, remember that the majority of the white oak barrel market is from right here in the state of Missouri.
“Originally, white oak was used because when [it] is sawed properly, they can make liquid tight containers. If you make a barrel like this out of other types of wood, that barrel would not be liquid tight. Actually, the liquid inside the barrel would weep out. But, with white oak, it’s actually chemically made up so that it’s tight and won’t leak. It was originally used because it’s a good sound container. Today, we use white oak primarily because of its flavor profile,” said Boswell.
Reaching customers in over 40 countries, the Independent Stave Company makes Missouri the world leader in oak barrel manufacturing.