Customer Spotlight: Whiskey or Wine, Anyone?

While some people may not like the strong taste or smell of whiskey or wine, you certainly can appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into perfecting such spirits. Part of this fine art involves storing and aging in just the right types of barrels. The quality of the barrels is critical because they interact with the whiskey to change its chemical makeup; they add “character” and color to the recipes, making all the difference in the world to certain blends.

WineIt happens that EIM has a customer that specializes in American white oak used to make wine and whiskey barrels. In barrel lingo… “coopers,” the people who make casks and barrels, use slats of wood (aka staves) that form the sides of a barrel and bind them with metal hoops and then finish them off with flat ends (aka heads). Oak is the preferred wood not only because it is strong, but also because there is a specific interaction between the wood and beverage. It’s interesting to realize—for those of us who are not connoisseurs—that even amongst oaks, different species create different flavors; American oak is the most commonly used variety.

This family-owned business stocks a full line of staves and heading as well as chips, barrel inserts and fan packs that help create alternative flavoring in the aging process. Their oak products are available as green, air dried, or kiln dried which means their lumber can be exposed to a tough environment ranging from long-term outside storage to high-temperature kilns. It is through open-air drying, for instance, that undesirable flavors are removed. Variations in drying time also impact the quality of a spirit.

It is vital to our customer that they keep track of their large inventory. Their outdoor lot is piled high with wood and other materials so in order to keep it all identified and easily traced, they need barcode tags that withstand the test of time. It winds up that EIM’s durable #430 White Plastic Kiln Tags are to their production process what a good quality American white oak is to a finely-crafted whiskey barrel!

Now if we can only get them in touch with another customer we have that specializes in tap handles, they would have the complete package for alcohol brewers everywhere!

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