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Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Expands Two Virginia Facilities

Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. will invest $26 million to establish a bourbon barrel cooperage in Smyth County and $9 million in a new stave mill facility in Washington County, Virginia.

The stave mill will supply the company’s new Smyth County cooperage, and the two operations will ramp up simultaneously. The project is expected to create 125 new jobs in Smyth County and 35 new jobs in Washington County.

Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. is an offspring of Speyside Cooperage Ltd., founded in Scotland in 1947. In 2008 Speyside Cooperage was sold to the Tonnellerie François Frères Group, a publicly held company founded in 1910 and headquartered in France. The company operates stave mills and bourbon cooperages in the U.S., with facilities in Kentucky, Ohio, and Bath County, Virginia.

“Speyside Bourbon Cooperage is very excited to be expanding our operations in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said General Manager of Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. Darren Whitmer. “Working with state and local authorities has been a wonderful experience for us, and thanks to these groups of people we have been able to locate excellent sites for our upcoming expansions. Virginia is perfect for us from a business standpoint; the communities that we are working in have been very welcoming. Logistically, the access that Virginia has fits our business model, and from a resource standpoint, Virginia cannot be beat. All of these factors have played an important part in leading us to Virginia, and we look forward to a long and prosperous future here.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, and Virginia’s Industrial Advancement Alliance worked with Smyth and Washington Counties, the Smyth-Washington Regional Industrial Facilities Authority to secure the projects for Virginia.

Governor Northam approved a $325,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Smyth County with the cooperage project and a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to assist Washington County with the stave mill project. The stave mill will procure approximately 80% of the white oak logs used for stave production from Virginia growers. The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved a total of $510,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the projects.

The company is also eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and for Sales and Use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP).

“Through its commitment to making significant investments in Virginia, Speyside Bourbon Cooperage is further supporting Virginia’s forest industry, loggers, and landowners, a critical part of Virginia’s economy,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am thrilled the Commonwealth could partner with Washington County through the AFID program to support this company in a flourishing industry. This project fills a critical gap in the spirit industry supply chain and through Speyside’s handcrafted barrels, Virginia-grown forestry products will be a part of making craft beverages all around the world.”


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