Barrel maker Independent Stave Company of Lebanon, Missouri, on Thursday announced plans to invest $30 million in a new facility near Batesville.
The project is expected to bring about 60 new jobs to the area. It will be Independent Stave's seventh mill in the U.S., and it will allow the company to expand production of staves for bourbon and wine barrels.
Operations are expected to begin at the end of 2023.
Independent Stave said its Arkansas facility will provide greater access to white oak, which is plentiful in the state and is used to make the narrow lengths of wood from which barrels are assembled. White oak is used in barrel staves because it has proven to be the best for crafting a liquid-tight container, according to the company.
Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said Independent Stave's interest in the state's white oak, which is one of 160 species of hardwood grown in the state, shows the importance of the timber industry to Arkansas. The industry accounts for more than 5% of the state's economy and employs more than 27,700 people.
"With more than 19 million acres of forestland in the state and a workforce that is second to none, I am confident that Independent Stave Company will find the resources they need in Arkansas to continue on the newest path of their journey," Preston said in a news release.
Independent Stave qualified for the following state incentives: the Tax Back program, which provides sales and use tax refunds on the purchase of building materials and taxable machinery, and five years of the Create Rebate program, an annual cash rebate based on the number of jobs added by a company.
Independent Stave was founded in 1912. In addition to its six stave mills, it has three barrel-making facilities known as cooperages in the U.S. and a fourth cooperage expected to open at the end of the year.
The company bills itself as the world's largest barrel maker. It has customers in 40 countries across the world.