Building a Cooperage Partnership
July 22, 2016
What do a forester, a logger, a sawyer, a cooper, and a distiller have in common? An affinity towards flawless American White Oak.
This cast of characters gathers around a barrel-in-waiting, that is to say, a perfectly straight and robust American White Oak tree. From start to finish, this process of harvesting, drying, building the barrel, distilling the spirit, and aging it can take anywhere from 4 years for a young bourbon, or countless years for a mature bourbon. Needless to say time is not on our side, this is a practice in patience. The old saying, “Good things come to those who wait.” is very apt.
We initiated this project with a vision of building a sustainable cooperage relationship that supports the working landscape of Vermont and adds value in flavor and integrity to our line of Landcrafted Barr Hill reserve spirits.
A reserve implies aged, and the barrel in which a spirit is aged in is the most important ingredient. One that we now source and produce locally in Vermont, where the white oak is selectively and sustainably harvested, cut, quarter-sawed, and cured, and in New York, where Bob Hockert, our esteemed Cooper makes our barrels. Our Landcrafted barrels color and age our most top shelf and esteemed spirits; that is to say we don’t age just any whiskey, bourbon, or gin in these vessels of art and beauty, we age only the finest.
At first it was the barrel shortage from craft distilleries popping up everywhere throughout America, and in turn driving the demand for barrels up, that catalyzed this dream into action. We couldn’t count on a steady flow of barrels coming in, because the coopers couldn’t make them fast enough.
Being Vermonters, with a do-it-yourself-attitude naturally built into our DNA, we took matters in to our own hands.
Now, with the fruits of our labor, Tom Cat Gin, swirling around a snifter, we taste the terroir or provenance that is unique to the Green Mountains of Vermont, our home and Tom Cat’s birthplace.