Barrel maker starts construction on cooperage in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A barrel manufacturer has started construction on a $66.5 million cooperage in eastern Kentucky that’s expected to create 220 jobs in coming years.

The Commonwealth Cooperage being built at Morehead by Independent Stave Co. is another sign of growth in the state’s bourbon industry.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s office says groundbreaking for the new cooperage was Tuesday.

Commonwealth Cooperage will produce white oak barrels for the bourbon and whiskey industries using locally manufactured staves. Bourbon is aged in charred oak barrels.

The cooperage at Morehead will become the company’s third in the state, joining the 500-employee Kentucky Cooperage in Lebanon and a used-barrel cooperage in Louisville.

Independent Stave also owns two stave mills in Kentucky — the 120-employee Morehead Wood Products facility and Benton Wood Products in Marshall County.