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  1. #21
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Chuck I don't believe that for a moment. My family has been in the timber business for generations and during my career as an attorney I represented, growers, loggers and mill operators. When there is a market demand for a certain type of timber (red oak for cabinetry and floors for instance) there is no shortage of those willing to harvest and deliver logs to the mill. It is no more difficult to cut a white oak tree than a pine, dogwood or any other dry land timber. Cypress can be a bit tricky because it sorta grows in a swamp. The only difficulty in harvesting white oak is the trees sometimes grow on an incline but the technology to overcome that has been around since after WWII when all sorts of heavy duty surplus machinery became available.

    Things slow down for everybody from the tree farmer to the mill owner when market demand goes soft such as when the housing market slows down. In times of high demand labor to harvest trees is the easiest obstacle to overcome.

    I believe the barrel shortage is unique to that part of the industry that produces whisky barrels. I don't think they were prepared for the upswing in demand for their product and there is no reason they should have forseen it coming. As Mike corectly pointed out above the staves have to have a drying out period (they can be kilned of course but not everybody wants that sort of barrel) and heretofore the barrel makers didn't have the incentive to front the costs (insurance alone on a lot full of drying wood is tremendous) stockpiling stave wood when there wasn't an apparent market for the barrels.

    Rainfall indeed, these guys work outdoors. The only thing that keeps loggers out of the woods during rain is lightning.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  2. #22
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Two things:

    1. For the young fellas: Looking for a stable well paying job that cannot be offshored? Being a cooper could be a noble profession for you. When the economy is good and bad alchohol does rather well (just like used cars). You can always get your accounting degree online.

    2. On a recent layover in LAX, I overheard a conversation between a California mill owner and another chap. It turns out that the mill business was super hot when the housing business was on fire, but there was much consolidation afterwards. During this time, this mill owner had bought out his competition for pennies on the dollar. He also said that things were starting to pick up (this was in early January 2014).

    It could be a milled wood shortage AND a cooperage issue?

  3. #23
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    My source is the president of the largest cooperage of the country. Is he mistaken? Lying? I've given you the facts. Go ahead and believe whatever idle conjecture fits your prejudices.

    If you wonder why I seem offended, consider that you have just said I'm either lying or don't know my business, neither of which is exactly a compliment.
    Last edited by cowdery; 03-30-2014 at 21:00.

  4. #24
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Oh come now Chuck, mean spirited personal attacks are the refuge of those who can't think of anything to say. You apparently have no personal experience in the timber industry and the only fact you have given me is you are acquainted with the president of the country's largest cooperage which isn't a fact, rather it's bragging. I do not know what labor problems that gentleman may be facing but I can give you a couple of genuine facts:

    1) There no shortage of trees (your conjecture on that point is correct) as can be verified by checking with the Forestry Department of any State that has a logging industry, and,

    2) A survey of the permits issued to loggers in those States will show there is no shortage of folks willing to cut those trees.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  5. #25
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    You apparently have no personal experience in the timber industry and the only fact you have given me is you are acquainted with the president of the country's largest cooperage which isn't a fact, rather it's bragging.
    No desire to get in the middle of the rest of this dialogue but I am not sure how a journalist/writer in the whiskey industry, of which cooperage is a significant part, would be considered bragging if he notes he has gotten information from the president of a cooperage that supplies a significant portion of the whiskey industry. Having those connections and reporting his findings sounds like exactly what he is supposed to do and for you to call him out in that fashion would seem to make you the one making the personal attack.

    My two shekels for whatever it is worth.
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

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  6. #26
    Trippah and Admin
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    The thread title isn't "let me take potshots at other members" so I recommend that we steer it back where it belongs quickly.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  7. #27
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    It's getting to the point that I regret starting the thread.

    Mods - can the enitre thread be deleted?

  8. #28
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Quote Originally Posted by TunnelTiger View Post
    It's getting to the point that I regret starting the thread.

    Mods - can the enitre thread be deleted?
    I would hate to delete it all together there is some decent info in here but if it keeps going the way it has been it will get locked. TunnelTiger this thread going south is not on you.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  9. #29
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Back on point driving north this morning on I75 I passed a log truck with humongous oaks on the trailer and Independent Stave on the cab.

    Help is on the way.

  10. #30
    Taster
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    Dec 2010
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    Kentucky
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    Re: Is the barrel shortage the reason?

    Interesting subject, have to believe it is a combination of increased demand and desire among most bourbon producers to increase production now, in the busiest and most agreeable season to produce whiskey. There are agreements that are like contracts, where each producer agrees to an allocation of barrels. As has been pointed out here, the wood requires some period of seasoning, so the cooperages are not able to increase allocations in the short term unless another producer of whiskey is willing to give up some of their allocation of barrels. Puts the cooperages in a situation where they get to decide who can get more (if more even exists). Also, makes having your own barrel production capacity a very valuable thing.

 

 

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