NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The maker of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey on Monday celebrated the opening of a new cooperage in Alabama to supply its distillery with the American white oak barrels that are toasted and charred to give the spirit its distinctive flavor and color.
The facility located in Trinity, Alabama, is about 60 miles southwest of the Jack Daniel distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Within the next few weeks, the cooperage is expected to make about 700 barrels per day out of wood from nearby stave mills owned by the company, and is projected to employ more than 200 workers when it reaches full capacity.
"The American whiskey category is booming with exports of Tennessee Whiskey and bourbon eclipsing $1 billion for the first time last year," Jack Daniel's Managing Director John Hayes said in a release. "We want to be able to satisfy the world's thirst for our premium Tennessee whiskey, and having this state-of-the-art cooperage will help us meet that demand."
Under a Tennessee law enacted last year, distillers must age their sprits in unused American white oak barrels if they want to label their product Tennessee whiskey. Some smaller distillers led by Diageo-owned George Dickel this year made an unsuccessful attempt to get state lawmakers to repeal the law championed by Jack Daniel's, which is owned by global rival Brown-Forman Corp. of Louisville, Kentucky.
Opponents of the labeling law said they worried about a potential American white oak shortage that could be caused by wet weather conditions or demand from pallet makers, and argued that the law should allow the use of rejuvenated barrels.