The West Virginia Great Barrel Company (WVGBC) announced Thursday that it has completed the final step in the financing of its $34 million Cooperage and stave mill project.

The Cooperage, located in White Sulphur Springs, will use state-of-the-art technology to manufacture up to 182,000 high-quality barrels per year for an ever-expanding whiskey distilling industry. This number is projected to grow to 350,000 with the planned implementation of a second production shift.

The Cooperage, which is expected to begin production in mid-2019, will employ 60 people.

“I’m very pleased to have completed this step in the development of our exciting project which will add jobs and more robust economic activity in our community and West Virginia,” said Tom Crabtree, manager of the WVGBC. “There are obviously many people to thank for their support of this project, from our governor and U.S. senators to our local community leaders. The State of West Virginia has truly been a partner in helping bring this project to reality.”

Along with this new manufacturing plant, more than 16 acres of fully improved land will become available for further development. Additionally, the WVGBC in conjunction with Rural Development Partners will use $150,000 for an important community development project in WSS in the near future.

Groundbreaking and site preparation is well under way, with building construction expected to begin by mid-November. The construction of the Cooperage will provide over 80 jobs during the 10-month construction schedule, with an additional 30 during equipment installation. The equipment that will be used is also currently being manufactured with expected delivery and installation at the site in early spring 2019.

In addition to the Cooperage project, the Audrina Mill, an affiliated company of WVGBC, is in the process of adding a new stave mill to its operations. The stave mill operations, located in Monroe County, are expected to begin production in early November and will employ an additional 30 people. The white oak staves will be used by the WVGBC to make barrels.

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Based in the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia, the WVGBC harvests local American white oak using the Audrina Mill in Monroe County as its primary source. WVGBC joins innovative technologies with Appalachian know-how to produce top-quality wood maturation barrels with on-time delivery to whiskey distillers worldwide. The company was formed in 2017 to create economic opportunity for the community, and they are committed to creating quality jobs and supporting sustainable forestry and production practices.

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