Commitment to Quality Assurance
In every facet of our craft, coopering high-quality oak barrels is the ultimate goal. Quality assurance starts in the log yard where our buyers adhere to strict guidelines when purchasing white oak logs for ISC Barrels. Then, as the logs reach our company-owned stave mills, our craftsmen work diligently transforming the logs into quality staves. Our skilled coopers receive the staves and continue quality checks and processes while crafting them into barrels. But our commitment to quality doesn’t end when we load finished barrels onto a truck en route to distilleries.
Quality assurance is continued on-site at distilleries by Blake Blandford, Quality Assurance Field Representative, and Chad Spalding, ISC Barrel Account Manager.
Blake and Chad meet with distillery warehouse managers face-to-face to discuss overall barrel performance. “We talk about all the good things they are seeing with the barrels and any concerns they currently have,” says Blake. These meetings are incredibly valuable, allowing Blake and Chad to bring back information to our Kentucky and Missouri cooperage production teams who use the reports to continually increase the quality of our barrels for all customers.
Blake also works with employees in the cistern room, getting a hands-on experience with their process. “It’s important to be in the room and see what they’re seeing as the barrels are filled. Many experienced distillery employees know how to adjust barrels, but if there are new employees, I can teach them how to work with the barrels. My goal is to help production run smoothly.”
During quality assessment tests random barrels are pulled and visually inspected. A moisture test is also conducted along with a number of other quality checks. Daily reports are completed with the resulting information, including ideas for barrel improvements. These reports can immediately affect change at the cooperages if needed.
Our coopers are skilled at taking oak – a variable product – and selecting it and sorting it out to make barrels that are completely uniform. We take a very inconsistent raw material and make a very consistent finished product. Our quality assurance team is there to continually monitor our craftsmanship and ensure clients receive quality barrels that meet their unique distillery needs so they are able to craft the world’s finest spirits.
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