A few evenings ago Far Guy and I had a date. We like to see how things are done…I guess you could say we are a curious sort.
A stack of White Oak staves…they get most of their wood from Pennsylvania.
Barrel making is no small process..I was impressed.
Barrels before they get soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes.
Hot water barrel on the left. Cable squeezing together the staves.
I really enjoyed this fellow who was charring the barrels. Barrels can be charred or toasted depending on what will enhance the flavor of whatever is stored in the barrel. It was quite obvious that this fellow enjoyed his job. He worked outside in a special trailer with a ventilation system.
The guys make their own bread dough to help seal up the barrel head. They put the bread dough in the croze which is the groove in the barrel where the barrel head rests. The bread dough helps to keep the barrel sealed until the wood has swelled properly to create its own seal.
It was a great tour..Far Guy knew several of the workers.
This is a family run business. I am not sure of the entire story..but this little gal and her faithful companion “Whiskey” talked the rest of the family into the cooperage business. I believe her father was a cooper at some time in his life.
In this day and age when many family run business are closing their doors it is refreshing to see a new business up and thriving. You can visit Black Swan Cooperage web site for more technical information:)