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Stave Plans Morehead, Kentucky, Cooperage

04/09/2018
Barrel manufacturer Independent Stave Co. will create 220 jobs for Kentuckians with a new $66.5 million cooperage in Morehead, Kentucky.

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.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority 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.

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.

“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,” Governor Matt 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.”

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