Speyside progress moving along

A sign on the front fence reads “Buyers of White Oak Logs”.  The wood for bourbon barrels must be oak because it’s is pure, without the sticky sap like pine, and it adds to the taste and aroma of aging whiskey. At Speyside Stave Mill in Millboro, there seem to be acres and acres of logs ready for the sawing to begin in the spring.

Jim McCoy, Mill Manager, said that supply might last about six weeks once milling is under way. I asked him to tell us a little about how the process will work.

“This is Jim McCoy, Speyside Bourbon Stave Mill in Millboro, Virginia. The staves are the sides of the barrels, and the headers are what we make for the ends of the barrels. We’ll be sawing about 125,000 feet a week, which’ll calculate into about 125,000 barrels a year, we’ll be able to produce from the product that we saw here.”

There are four positions currently being advertised for staff who will learn operations and maintenance of equipment as it is being installed. There is also an office administrator position open.

“How many jobs will eventually be available?”

“Going to have a total of somewhere between thirty to thirty-three employees, for one shift, and that includes myself.”

“What will be the kinds of equipment used at Speyside?”

“’Course the equipment that we’ll be using out on the log yard are loaders and knucklebooms. Inside the mill we’ll have roughly six band saws, one fairly large circular saw; it’s not super big compared to normal sawmills, but about a fifty-eight inch blade. And then we’ll have nine edger saws, which are just kind of heavy-duty table saws, that’ll have roughly twelve-inch blades on them. So, we’ll have an operator at each one of those locations, and then we’ll have some stackers. You know, a stave is not a big piece of wood. Pretty much the longest piece of wood will be about thirty-seven inches long, and about six inches wide.”

“And then where will the staves be shipped to from here?”

“We’ll produce the staves here where there’ll actually stay on the site once they’re sawed, from thirty to sixty days, and then we’ll load them on a flat bed truck, and they’ll be hauled to Jackson, Ohio, where our barrel cooperage is, actually run through an edger there, you know, shaped to be built into a bourbon barrel.” The current positions are for supervisor, and a maintenance technician. As the time to begin milling gets closer, possibly early May, more information about other positions will be available.

If you’re interested in applying for employment at the Speyside Stave Mill in Millboro, Jim McCoy’s e-mail is jmccoy@speysidebci.com and the office number is 540-712-0789

For ongoing coverage of this eagerly awaited economic development opportunity in Bath County, stay tuned to AMR . . . .



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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