Abandoned Barrel Series | 11.03.17 #limitededition #bourbonbarrelcrafts
Bourbon Barrel Hoop Stamped Letters
Have you ever noticed the two letters stamped into the hoops rivet hoops of a bourbon barrel? The stamped letters inform you of what cooperage built the barrel before distilleries can produce the bourbon we love. We incorporate the stamped hoops in our product line. Read more about the meaning of the “KY” “MO” “BB” letters that are stamped into the rivet heads of the barrel hoop:
Independent Stave Company makes barrels for bourbon distilleries and wineries. Their location in MO primarily produces wine barrels and the KY location primarily produces bourbon barrels.
The Independent Stave Company is the largest stave mill operation in the world with six highly efficient stave mills located in the US and in France.
Where the barrel is made can be determined by the letters stamped into the rivet heads of the hoop. The “KY” or “MO” seen on the rivets signifies that the barrels were made at one of the Independent Stave Company locations in the United States. Other letters can be stamped into the rivet heads of the hoop, like “BB” (Brown Forman barrel company who makes barrels for Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels among others) and “LC” (Stitzel-Weller Bulleit Distillery).
It is the galvanized steel hoops that hold the barrels together – there are no nails or screws as these could contaminate the contents. The rivet heads on the barrel hoops are only used to fasten the hoops, they don’t attach to the barrel.
source: My Quantum Discovery
The Bourbon Barrel Bunghole
The bunghole is the entrance and the exit for the whiskey. It is placed on the side of the barrel right in the middle between the heads. The bunghole has to be placed directly into the middle of a wide stave. This way you minimize the risk of breakage of the stave at the hole and leakage at the line between two staves near the hole. At the Brown-Forman company, a laser is used to mark the point where the bunghole will be drilled.
Right after the drilling a gallon (3.7 liters) of water is filled into the barrel. It is then rotated so that the water touches all staves and the barrel becomes really wet in the inside. Now air pressure is added and you can see if there are any leakages. If there is a leak you will see bubbles of water forming at the leak. It is important to keep the barrel wet. If the barrel dries out the wood shrinks and the stability and airtightness of the barrel are in danger. This is why most of the distilleries keep a bit of water or whiskey in their empty barrels. Finally, a temporary plastic bung is added and the barrel is off to the distilleries to mature whiskey.
Check out some of the items in our shop that features the bourbon barrel bunghole CLICK HERE.