BATESVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A state-of-the-art mill is coming to Arkansas as Independent Stave Company, a manufacturer of high-quality oak barrels and cooperage products, announced construction near Batesville to produce staves for bourbon and wine barrels.

The company, which is the largest barrel maker in the world, will invest more than $30 million in the facility and create approximately 60 new jobs, a press release said.

Currently, Independent Stave Company operates six stave mills and three cooperages—with a fourth cooperage projected to open at the end of 2022— throughout the U.S. as well as a mill and cooperages overseas.

“This has been an exciting time as we continue to invest in our current and new facilities to support our customers and the growth of the industry,” said Brad Boswell, CEO of Independent Stave Company. “This new stave mill will be our seventh domestic mill, and an important addition allowing us to expand our supply of high-quality American white oak.”

The release notes Arkansas has a “wealth of natural resources and raw materials necessary to manufacture cooperage products.” According to Independent Steve, a stave is a narrow length of wood with a slightly beveled edge used to make the barrels that distillers and winemakers use to age wine, bourbon, whiskey, and other spirits.

White oak, which is plentiful in Arkansas, is used in barrel staves because white oak has proven to be the best for crafting a liquid-tight container.

“White oak is just one of the 160 species of hardwoods grown in the state,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “Timber is vital to the Arkansas economy. It contributes slightly more than five percent of our economy and employs more than 27,700 people. With more than 19 million acres of forestland in the state and a workforce that is second to none, I am confident that Independent Stave Company will find the resources they need in Arkansas to continue on the newest path of their journey.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson also shared his thoughts on the announcement, saying “I’m thrilled to welcome Independent Stave Company to Arkansas. As a family-owned company, they embrace the same values of Arkansans—family, innovation, community, and hard work. I am confident they will be a valuable business partner to Batesville and Independence County.”

Chairman of Independence County Economic Development Zachery E. Harber says the county is prepared to assist the company with site improvements and workforce development initatives during the transition.

Operations are planned to begin at the end of next year. For more information, including job opportunities, visit https://www.independentstavecompany.com/.