To a distiller, there is nothing more beautiful than a perfectly charred oak barrel. Except maybe a stainless steel barrel that can hold their precious bourbon for as long as is needed without tainting or affecting the flavor or age.
That’s right – American distillers use stainless steel barrels for their bourbon and other liquors, and according to Bourbon historian Michael Veach, the practice is hardly new.
To be a bourbon, whiskey has to be aged in oak. But after the aging is complete, it can be transferred to stainless steel barrels for storage. Stainless steel does not interact with the bourbon the way oak does, which means that distillers can store a final product in stainless steel without worrying that it will alter the flavor in any way.
This stainless secret came into the limelight last year when stainless steel barrels of bourbon were seized as evidence in an on-going bourbon theft ring. One of the stolen barrels was a 17-year Eagle Rare from Buffalo Trace. And just what container had Buffalo Trace entrusted to hold this expensive product? A 23-gallon, stainless steel barrel. Actually, a Skolnik Industries 23-gallon, stainless steel barrel, to be precise.
That’s right, distillers all around bourbon county are turning to Skolnik stainless steel barrels to store their precious product. And not just any bourbon, but expensive, highly sought after bourbon — that one 23-gallon barrel of 17-year Eagle Rare is worth between $11,000 and $12,000.
To learn more about the theft ring and the use of stainless steel barrels in the distillery business, read the USA Today piece about the heist. To learn more about how your distillery can benefit from stainless steel barrels, contact a Skolnik sales representative today.