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  1. #11
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Anybody with a chain saw, skidder and a log truck.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  2. #12
    Taster
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    Dec 2006
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    Waterbury VT
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    99

    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    I just looked at the online store section of Independent Stave Company's web site. It says they are currently on allocation and unable to take any new order. It also mentions that they hope to be addressing new inquiries with the next 6 to 12 months.

  3. #13
    Disciple
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    Jun 2013
    Location
    NWGA
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    1,960

    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Man a 6 to 12 month waiting list! You know that is bringing on a price increase.
    Not good for us consumer but working for a mfg company I know how much we enjoy it when that happens which isn't very often.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #14
    Advanced Taster
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    Mar 2014
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    Exile on Tonghuajie
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    139

    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    With about half the US population on the dole, you'd think a well paying job would be attractive. But I suppose there is no Twitter in the middle of the woods?

  5. #15
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    I don't think the problem is on the wood supply end, rather the bottleneck is with the barrel manufacturers who are faced with more demand than they can meet.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #16
    Connoisseur
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    Jan 2014
    Location
    Washington DC
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    554

    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    I don't think the problem is on the wood supply end, rather the bottleneck is with the barrel manufacturers who are faced with more demand than they can meet.
    After I retired, I joined a woodworking club (wife said get a hobby or go back to work; no bars near, or bad idea to drink during, work so . . .). I built my fair share of end tables, coffee tables, etc., (ran out of relatives to give them to) then moved on to other consumable/renewable hobbies like fishing, reading, brush clearing (thanks, Prez. W, I had no idea how much fun this is - good exercise and nobody to tell you that you did a bad job), and, lately, a blog with the initials "SB". About ten years ago (after my coffee table phase), I started reading about bourbon (to learn more about this stuff I'd loved for many years) and wondered about the descriptions of barrel-making. My college degree in engineering (never used, well, hardly ever) and my experience in woodworking led me to conclude that barrel-making, with its need for compound angles for staves and particular wood quality and special characteristics, is one of the remaining skills that likely cannot be turned over to mass production. Like the kitchen in a 4-star restaurant, some things can be automated, BUT artists must run the show. I've seen dozens of videos on barrel-making and been on-site more than a few times and think the shortage must be due to too few craftsmen and women (not a PC comment - nobody does quality control like the women I've worked with or for). I sure hope they catch up with demand before I get too old to enjoy the products for their labor.
    Last edited by Harry in WashDC; 03-29-2014 at 14:28.

  7. #17
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    A craftsman at the Colonial Williamsburg shop told me years age, "anyone can make a cracker barrel but only a craftsman can make a watertight barrel".
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  8. #18
    Connoisseur
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    Jan 2014
    Location
    Washington DC
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    A craftsman at the Colonial Williamsburg shop told me years age, "anyone can make a cracker barrel but only a craftsman can make a watertight barrel".
    YESSSIR! That was one of my onsite visits. I spent over a half hour watching, and then, during their break, another half hour talking woodworking with them. Like fishing or painting (oils, watercolors, walls, whatever), there's a Zen to barrel-making where time stops and you don't get hungry or thirsty and your focus and every conscious thought is right in front of you. They let me work with a cabinet scraper (the thing with hand-knobs on each end and a blade in the middle that you pull toward you). I butchered several pieces of wood, but once I got the feeling of the draw toward me, it was a real rush.

    It made me appreciate, even more, the effort that goes into the bourbon I drink even if Corporate is indifferent. I hope the line workers know that.

  9. #19
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,637

    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Quote Originally Posted by flahute View Post
    I can't find it now, but I read somewhere in the past few days that indeed it's not a matter of tree availability but the availability of experienced loggers to go out and get them. I don't know anything about tree sourcing for barrels and the process of bringing them into the mills or cooperages to know if this statement holds any water. Can't any logger go out and chop down a tree or does it really take the right kind of know how for barrel specific trees?
    We have the correct answer right here. Weather has also been a factor but this is the more significant longer-term factor. It will correct, but may take awhile. The forests are very healthy. The stock of trees is growing faster than they can be cut so each year, despite the number that are taken, there are more available than the year before. There is also plenty of cooperage capacity. The problem is getting enough trees cut and to the stave mills. This problem may persist for awhile if demand keeps growing. Even if the gap keeps getting smaller, it may take some time (i.e., years) to close it, but that's the problem. It's not the forests and it's not the cooperages.

    This is a relatively recent problem so it has nothing to do with shortages of whiskey at the shelf. Though it may be a contributing factor in a few years, it's not now.
    Last edited by cowdery; 03-30-2014 at 15:08.

  10. #20
    Taster
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    Dec 2006
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    Waterbury VT
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    I don't think the problem is on the wood supply end, rather the bottleneck is with the barrel manufacturers who are faced with more demand than they can meet.
    I think you're right squire. If you look through ISC's website, they have options for American Oak, European Oak and French Oak. All three are available with staves that were air dried for 24 months. The American Oak also has options for 18 months of air drying or kiln drying. I doubt they would stop taking new orders across the board for up to a year if it was just a wood supply issue.

 

 

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