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Win-Win for Whiskey, Wine and Forests

Independent Stave Company and American Forests Partner to Restore Native Oak Forests

Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2017) — American Forests and Independent Stave Company are launching a first-of-its-kind Oak Restoration Fund to invest in key projects that ensure the sustainability of oak forests.

American Forests is partnering with Independent Stave Company, a family-owned cooperage company crafting whiskey and wine barrels, to establish an Oak Restoration Fund that will be used to implement a suite of restoration projects that sustain the environmental, economic and social benefits provided by oak forests. Projects will include tree planting, former mine land restoration, forest health treatments, and promotion of natural regeneration.

Across the United States, oak trees provide a multitude of natural benefits to society every day, including clean air and water, habitat and food for wildlife and long-term storage of carbon pollution. For example, oaks trees host 534 species of butterflies and moths — more than any other plant genus. Over the past 100 years, the proportion of oaks in eastern forests has grown steadily and are the most prominent trees by volume. However, their prominence in the future is uncertain. The numbers of oak seedlings and small oak trees have declined due a variety of factors including too many deer, lack of natural, low-intensity wildfires, and repeated pest invasions.

Among the diversity of oak trees, white oak is the “king” as the tree provides superior wildlife habitat and excellent timber. White oak is king in the American whiskey industry as well. Both bourbon and other whiskeys must be aged in oak barrels. White oak creates superior barrels due to its grain structure and desirable organoleptic properties.

“At Independent Stave Company, white oak is a way of life, truly the foundation of our craft. We are passionate about sustainable forest management that is effective, reactive and proactive to ensure this renowned resource is available for generations to come. It is important to us to continue finding ways to translate this passion into action, and also encourage other companies to join us as we work to protect and care for white oak forest.” Garret Nowell, Log Procurement Manager – Independent Stave Company

To kick-start the Oak Restoration Fund in 2017, Independent Stave Company is offering up to $50,000 to match like contributions from distilleries and wineries. Initial projects will be implemented on the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky and state conservation lands in Missouri. Future projects can be implemented on private, state and federal lands throughout oak country including Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.

“Sustaining natural benefits like wildlife habitat and clean water while supporting local jobs and good whiskey is the best kind of win-win. American Forests is committed to restoring native forest ecosystems like our oak forests across the country.” Eric Sprague, Director of Forest Conservation.



American Forests inspires and advances the conservation of forests. We do this by restoring threatened forest ecosystems, promoting and expanding urban forests, and increasing understanding of the importance of forests. Founded in 1875, American Forests is the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country and has served as a catalyst for many key milestones in the conservation movement, including the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, the national forest and thousands of forest ecosystem restoration projects and public education efforts. Since 1990, American Forests has planted more than 50 million trees in all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, resulting in cleaner air and drinking water, restored habitat for wildlife and fish, and the removal of millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


Independent Stave Company is a dynamic, family-owned cooperage company reaching customers in more than 40 countries. Founded by the Boswell family in 1912, Independent Stave Company has a long heritage in the wine and spirits industry and continues to perfect the cooperage craft through quality and innovation. Independent Stave Company is vertically integrated to oversee every step in a barrel’s journey, from log procurement to barrel crafting. By utilizing nearly one hundred percent of each log for barrel staves, oak alternatives and mulch, ISC operates as one of the most sustainable, environmentally-conscious cooperage companies in the world. For more information, please visit


Christopher Horn | Director of Communications | 202.370.4517 (direct) |

June 30th, 2017|Categories: Media Release|Tags: |