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Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Builds New Stave Mill In Bath County, Virginia

Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. will invest $5 million to build a new stave mill in Bath County, Virginia. The company will create 30 new jobs in the county and source 80 percent of its timber needs from Virginia land owners.

According to state officials, Virginia successfully competed with West Virginia for this project, which is the first economic development project announcement for Bath County since 2003 and the first ever project in the county to receive state discretionary incentives. The Commonwealth is partnering with Bath County and Speyside Bourbon Cooperage through a Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) grant.

Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. is an offspring of Speyside Cooperage Ltd. which was founded in Scotland in 1947. Speyside currently operates two plants in Scotland and one in the U.S. in Kentucky. The company is a part of a larger cooperage organization which is based in France, the Tonnellerie Francois Freres Group. Speyside Bourbon Cooperage in Jackson, Ohio is the company’s first plant dedicated solely to the production of new bourbon barrels. Speyside’s new facility in Bath County will produce white oak staves and heading, the materials needed to create barrels and will be an integral part of their supply chain.

“Virginia’s forestry industry supports thousands of quality jobs in our rural communities and provides important market opportunities for the Commonwealth’s private forestland owners,” Governor Terry McAuliffe said. “I am delighted that an international company with a reputation like Speyside recognizes the tremendous resources in Bath County and has chosen the Commonwealth to be its next home. We will continue to work with local governments, regional economic development partnerships, and companies like Speyside Bourbon Cooperage to further expand economic vitality and build the new Virginia economy in all corners of the Commonwealth.”

“All of us at Speyside Bourbon Cooperage are very excited about locating our new mill in Bath County,” said Darren Whitmer, General Manager at Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. “The search for the perfect location started over a year ago, many states and locations were looked at. The various authorities in Virginia did a wonderful job of showing us many different areas in the state. Our goal all along was to locate the plant in the Shenandoah Valley region, due to the availability of white oak and the fact that the timber industry is strong there. Everyone that we worked with in the Government Offices were extremely helpful, and they did not stop until we found the perfect location. It was truly a team effort by the State and the result is we have found the ideal location with ideal partners. We look forward to establishing our new business in Millboro.”

“Speyside Bourbon Cooperage’s new investment in Bath County and Virginia represents increased opportunities for the county and regional forestland owners,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “In addition, Speyside will be filling a gap in the supply chain in the craft beverage industry: through Speyside’s barrels, Virginia-grown products will be a part of making craft beverages all over the world. I am very pleased that Virginia was able to support this project and Bath County with AFID planning and facility grants, both valuable tools in the Governor’s efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”

“In addition, Bath County’s Economic Development Authority is grateful to the efforts of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for providing guidance and support, and is pleased that this project was awarded an AFID grant. We are most grateful to Governor McAuliffe and the Commonwealth for providing us significant incentives to develop this project for Bath County,” he added.

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