A manufacturer of high-quality oak barrels and cooperage products plans to construct a state-of-the-art mill near Batesville to produce staves for bourbon and wine barrels, according to recent press release shared by the AEDC. Independent Stave Company, the largest barrel maker in the world, will invest more than $30 million in the facility and create approximately 60 new jobs for the area.
“This has been an exciting time as we continue to invest in our current and new facilities to support our customers and the growth of the industry,” said Brad Boswell, CEO of Independent Stave Company. “This new stave mill will be our seventh domestic mill, and an important addition allowing us to expand our supply of high-quality American white oak.”
Independent Stave Company operates six stave mills and three cooperages throughout the United States, as well as a mill and cooperages overseas. Established in 1912, the company manufactures staves, barrels, and oak alternatives for customers in 40 countries around the world.
The company reportedly sought opportunity in Arkansas due to the state’s wealth of natural resources and raw materials necessary to manufacture cooperage products. A stave is a narrow length of wood with a slightly beveled edge used to make the barrels that distillers and winemakers use to age wine, bourbon, whiskey and other spirits. White oak, which is plentiful in Arkansas, is used in barrel staves because white oak has proven to be the best for crafting a liquid-tight container.
“White oak is just one of the 160 species of hardwoods grown in the state,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “Timber is vital to the Arkansas economy. It contributes slightly more than five percent of our economy and employs more than 27,700 people. With more than 19 million acres of forestland in the state and a workforce that is second to none, I am confident that Independent Stave Company will find the resources they need in Arkansas to continue on the newest path of their journey.”
“We are proud to welcome Independent Stave Company to Independence County,” CEO of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Batesville Economic Development Crystal Johnson said. “Our community strategic plan, IMPACT, has a strong focus on local leadership working together to recruit and expand industry sectors that have the greatest potential to create new jobs, raise incomes and elevate standards of living. This exciting announcement is directly inline with this vision of progressive economic growth.”
Independent Stave Company plans to start operations in Batesville at the end of 2023. For more information, including job opportunities, visit www.independentstavecompany.