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The Secret Life of Bourbon Barrels


Where are all the barrels going?

Infographic by gustavkatz.com

We found this infographic over on tastingtable.com and it was too cool not to share. It shows the lifespan of many bourbon barrels, starting with being filled with bourbon and wherever they may head to next. By law, bourbon barrels can only be used once, which creates an incredible supply of them. A lot of them head to Mexico for tequila to age in, as well as Scotland for scotch to be aged in. Until recently, there wasn’t a huge demand for them, and then they started being sent to breweries for beer to be aged in, imparting the delicious flavors of the former tenant to the new beer. From there, everything from bitters to coffee beans to tobacco have been stored in used barrels, even maple syrup and sherry vinegar. The maple syrup, might I add, is incredible.

One addition, that I’m surprised to not see on the infographic, is Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS), a massive imperial stout brewed with chocolate and coffee beans that is aged in a barrel that originally held bourbon and then held maple syrup. This beer was released earlier this month and 12,000 bottles didn’t leave much to go around.

Click on the image to see a bigger version of the infographic.


  1. Food News : East Village Eats | Thursday, November 10, 2011

    […] Secret Life of bourbon barrels. Julie Farias now helming Goat Town, via Eater. Salon Hencho (next to Hencho In […]

  2. Liz | Thursday, September 26, 2013

    The products listed above aren’t the only things! We use them all the way down to the sawdust!

  3. Kevin | Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    I bet you don’t know why it’s against the law to reuse a bourbon barrel to make more bourbon.

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