Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Brown-Forman Cooperage Opens for Tours.
Brown-Forman announced today it is opening the Brown-Forman Cooperage to the public for tours for the first time in its history. The Cooperage is being re-named from Blue Grass Cooperage to Brown-Forman Cooperage to honor its parent company.
The Brown-Forman Cooperage makes barrels for aging such Brown-Forman products as Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Early Times, Canadian Mist, El Jimador and Herradura. Brown-Forman is the only spirits company in the world that makes its own barrels, which are crafted from American white oak.
Brown-Forman Cooperage tours must be arranged in advance through Mint Julep Tours (502-583-1433). Also available through Mint Julep Tours is the “All Woodford, All Day Tour,” which includes transportation to both the Brown-Forman Cooperage and Woodford Reserve Distillery, a tour guide host, admission to both venues, and lunch.
With the opening of the Brown-Forman Cooperage for tours, the general public will have a chance to see all aspects of barrel-making, from the natural air-drying of the staves and other parts, to barrel assembly, charring, and finishing.
"The aromatic smells are the best part of the tour," said Brown-Forman Master Distiller Chris Morris. "By toasting and charring these barrels, we activate natural flavors and aromas in the wood which give our spirits such distinct tastes."
Brown-Forman founded the Cooperage in 1945, and while a great deal of technology has been added to enable the production of more than 1,500 barrels per day, a trip inside is a step back in time.
“We know oak barrels were introduced to the world by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago,” added Morris. “The Romans obviously didn’t have the technology we have available today, but we are still following the same processes they followed back then.”