Considered a dying industry 50 years ago, barrel coopering is once again a booming business. Though technology has improved the industry, barrel making still very much relies on the highly skilled and very human profession of barrel coopering. And like a human fingerprint, no barrel is the same. Each stave is unique and each one fits together like a puzzle. The fact that a cooper can assemble a consistent product demonstrates the craftsmanship that goes into building a watertight barrel that can withstand the flux of the seasons. This isn’t a process you can teach overnight and after watching how many steps go into making the perfect barrel you can see why.
When we went down to the Missouri Ozarks to work with McGinnis Wood Products to see how barrels are made, we had no idea what to expect. To say you couldn’t find a better family run business in the Midwest is an understatement. LeRoy, Don and the rest of the McGinnis family took us in like old friends. Not only did we get to venture into every part of the factory to see their coopers working, we grew to understand the passion behind a lifetime of barrel making. It is not an easy job. A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into making each barrel they ship out. We can’t thank the McGinnis family enough for letting us into their world and couldn’t be prouder to call them our friends after collaborating with them on this chapter.