The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

Bardstown Bourbon Co. and WV Great Barrel Company explore the evolution of the American whiskey barrel


One of the most central, inherently important questions that any whiskey industry company must answer before launching is the following: What is this company’s relationship with tradition?

That is not a query you might see whiskey geeks mulling over particularly often, but it’s an absolutely essential facet of a new distillery deciding exactly what it intends to be. How important is the history of whiskey production? How inviolable are the methods by which whiskey has been produced over the last few centuries? Beyond the rigid federal definitions for a term such as “bourbon,” how much value do they place into techniques, aesthetics and ideals established far in the past, and how hesitant are they to flip the script if the data suggests there may be a theoretically better way? 

The people behind West Virginia Great Barrel Company asked themselves all of those questions, and what they settled on was that although tradition may inspire the cooper’s art, it can’t dictate how they assemble a barrel. Instead, this is a young company driven by achieving the best possible result by any means necessary, even when it runs counter to what may have long been considered “conventional wisdom.” And what better partner to find at the intersection of how barrels and whiskey interact than Bardstown Bourbon Co.?

Read more: