Millboro to welcome thirty new jobs at a Stave Mill

In a press release dated August 25th Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe announced that Speyside Bourbon Cooperage will invest five million dollars to build a new stave mill in Bath County. The company will create thirty new jobs, and source eighty percent of its timber needs from Virginia landowners. Virginia successfully competed with West Virginia for this project, which is the first economic announcement for Bath County since 2003, and the first ever project in the county to receive state discretionary funds. A Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) grant brought the state, Bath County, and Speyside Bourbon Cooperage together.

The Governor said “ I am delighted that an international company, with a reputatuion like Speyside recognizes the tremendous resources in Bath County, and has chosen the Commonwealth to be its next home.

Speyside Bourbon Cooperage is an offspring of Speyside Cooperage Ltd. Which was founded in Scotland in 1947. The company currently operates two plants in Scotland, and one in the United States in Kentucky. It is part of a larger cooperage organization, the TFF Group based in France. The company’s first plant dedicated solely to production of bourbon barrels is in Jackson, Ohio. The new Bath County facility will produce white oak staves and heading, the materials needed to create barrels and will be an integral part of their supply chain.

Darren Whitmer, General Manager of at Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. said,

“We are excited about locating our new mill in Bath County. The search for the perfect location started over a year ago; many states and locations were looked at. The various authorities in Virginia did a wonderful job of showing us many different areas in the state.It was truly a team effort by the State, and the result is we have found the ideal location with ideal partners. We look forward to establishing our new business in Millboro.”

Mason Cauthorn, Chair of Bath County Economic Development Authority said, “We could not be more pleased to welcome Speyside to the Industrial Park in Millboro. It is a great company and this proposed stave mill will be perfect for our area. We have the natural resources, and the labor force to support this company, and we are delighted Speyside has selected us to be part of their world-wide family. In addition Bath’s EDA thanks the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for their guidance and support; and is pleased the project was awarded an AFID grant. We are most grateful to the Governor for and the Commonwealth for providing us significant incentives to develop this project for Bath County.”

Senator Creigh Deeds stated: “ I congratulate the team in Bath County, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership and the Commonwealth of Virginia for working together to land an international in Bath County. The regional economy relies heavily on agriculture and forestry, and this project will be a boon to landowners and citizens alike.”

One of the early stages of the project was supported by the Governor’s Agriculture and Forest Industries Development Fund and matching local funds to complete the survey of the site where Speyside will build its cooperage. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will also be provided through the Virginia Jobs investment Program, administered by the Virginia Development Partnership.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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