Bourbon Barrels And The Many Ways In Which They Get A Second Life - The Whiskey Wash

Bourbon Barrels And The Many Ways In Which They Get A Second Life

By Nino Marchetti / March 11, 2015

Have you heard the story of new bourbon barrels being supposedly in very short supply as interest in this spirit continues to rise? It isn’t something which seems to impact the big players all that much, despite the fact some say the shortage will last at least a few more years. All of this doesn’t necessarily impact used bourbon barrels either, however, as the legal definition of bourbon states this type of whiskey can only be aged in “charred new oak” containers once. What then happens to all of those used barrels after they are dumped the one time?

The simple answer is quite a lot, actually. In most cases, at least for the full size barrels, they are shipped overseas to Scotch whisky distilleries to age their single malts in. When you look beyond this, though, especially for smaller barrels, you get into a whole host of uses, be it aging beer or maple syrup, being turned into cool furniture or even having blue jeans inserted into them (see video below) for aging “just for the sheer love and passion of it.”

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To get a better idea of the many ways in which ex-bourbon barrels are used after they leave the distilleries across America, below you’ll find a cool infographic I recently stumbled across at TastingTable.com. Check it out and let me know in the comments of other innovative ways you’ve seen or heard of around how these barrels find a second life.

Secret Life of Bourbon Barrels