Tree to Barrel: Great Wines and Whiskeys Begin in Missouri Forests

    The spirits industry is booming and the demand for an essential product is high: Missouri white oak barrels. Wine and whiskey makers alike prefer the Missouri hardwood barrels for their ability to impart a special balance of flavor and complexity to their end products. The Oak Cooperage in Higbee, Missouri (just North of Columbia, MO – population 568) can’t keep up with demand, and experts are concerned neither can Missouri’s forests. Through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the MU Extension is now working with Missourians to better manage the white oak population. The alternative is a future Missouri forest with far less white oak trees, which would have a negative impact on the wine and spirits industry, economy and local wildlife.

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