Speyside Bourbon Cooperage to build stave mill in Bath County
Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Inc. will invest $5 million to build a new stave mill in Bath County. The company will create 30 new jobs in the county and source 80 percent of its timber needs from Virginia land owners.
Virginia successfully competed with West Virginia for this project, which is the first economic development project announcement for Bath County since 2003 and the first ever project in the county to receive state discretionary incentives. The Commonwealth is partnering with Bath County and Speyside Bourbon Cooperage through a Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) grant.
“Virginia’s forestry industry supports thousands of quality jobs in our rural communities and provides important market opportunities for the Commonwealth’s private forestland owners,” Governor McAuliffe said. “I am delighted that an international company with a reputation like Speyside recognizes the tremendous resources in Bath County and has chosen the Commonwealth to be its next home. We will continue to work with local governments, regional economic development partnerships, and companies like Speyside Bourbon Cooperage to further expand economic vitality and build the new Virginia economy in all corners of the Commonwealth.”
Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. is an offspring of Speyside Cooperage Ltd. which was founded in Scotland in 1947. Speyside currently operates two plants in Scotland and one in the U.S. in Kentucky. The company is a part of a larger cooperage organization which is based in France, the Tonnellerie Francois Freres Group. Speyside Bourbon Cooperage in Jackson, Ohio is the company’s first plant dedicated solely to the production of new bourbon barrels. Speyside’s new facility in Bath County will produce white oak staves and heading, the materials needed to create barrels and will be an integral part of their supply chain.
“Speyside Bourbon Cooperage’s new investment in Bath County and Virginia represents increased opportunities for the county and regional forestland owners,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “In addition, Speyside will be filling a gap in the supply chain in the craft beverage industry: through Speyside’s barrels, Virginia-grown products will be a part of making craft beverages all over the world. I am very pleased that Virginia was able to support this project and Bath County with AFID planning and facility grants, both valuable tools in the Governor’s efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”
“All of us at Speyside Bourbon Cooperage are very excited about locating our new mill in Bath County,” said Darren Whitmer, General Manager at Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. “The search for the perfect location started over a year ago, many states and locations were looked at. The various authorities in Virginia did a wonderful job of showing us many different areas in the state. Our goal all along was to locate the plant in the Shenandoah Valley region, due to the availability of white oak and the fact that the timber industry is strong there. Everyone that we worked with in the Government Offices were extremely helpful, and they did not stop until we found the perfect location. It was truly a team effort by the State and the result is we have found the ideal location with ideal partners. We look forward to establishing our new business in Millboro.”
“The Economic Development Authority of the County of Bath could not be more pleased to welcome Speyside to the Industrial Park in Millboro,” noted Mason Cauthorn, Chair of the Bath County Economic Development Authority. “Speyside is a great company and this proposed stave mill will be perfect for our area. We have the natural resources and the labor force to support this company and we are delighted that Speyside has selected us to be part of their world-wide family. In addition, Bath County’s Economic Development Authority is grateful to the efforts of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for providing guidance and support, and is pleased that this project was awarded an AFID grant. We are most grateful to Governor McAuliffe and the Commonwealth for providing us significant incentives to develop this project for Bath County,”
Senator Creigh Deeds stated, “I congratulate the team in Bath County, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, and the Commonwealth of Virginia for working together to land an international company to Bath County. The regional economy relies heavily on agriculture and forestry, and this project will be a boon to landowners and citizens alike.”
The Commonwealth is partnering with Bath County and Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Governor McAuliffe approved a $250,000 grant from the AFID Fund to assist with the project, which Bath County is matching with local funds. Bath County previously received funding to support this project from an AFID planning grant, which assisted the County in completing a detailed survey of the site where Speyside will build its cooperage. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will also be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.