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The origins of barrel making are a bit obscure and may date as far back as ancient Mesatoptomia. But historians believe the barrel we recognize today was likely developed by the Celts, around 350 BC.  They were initially used to transport a wide assortment of goods ranging from pork bellies to gunpowder to the King’s ale.

Wooden barrels, oak, in particular, were without equal when it came to aging and transporting wine and spirits. And barrel making or cooperage was a viable trade in the nineteenth, early twentieth century.

Then the Prohibition movement during the twenties and early thirties devastated the cooperage industry.  And adding insult to injury, pallet-based logistics developed during WWII made the barrel almost obsolete. Sadly, the cooperage industry collapsed in most of the country.

However, there was still one area where wooden barrels remained without equal, and that was in aging whisky. So, barrel-making remained viable in areas near the major distilleries in Kentucky and Tennesee.

But the explosive growth of the brown spirits industry, as well as the rise of the craft distilleries, has created an increasing demand for quality barrels. Fortunately, there is a handful of craftsmen rising to the occasion, and tonight, Tony Fletcher, owner of Green Mountain Grain and Barrel, will share his story and how he and his partners are revitalizing the art of barrel-making in Vermont


7:00 – 7:30 – Registration & Hors d’oeuvres

7:30 – 7:45 – Whisky of the Night – Profile & Pouring of the Dram

7:45 – 8:30 – Featured Talk – Barrel-Making

8:30 – 9:00 – Coffee and Dessert