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Brown-Forman culls 70 jobs at cooperage

Brown-Forman is to invest US$45 million in modernising its cooperage, resulting in the loss of 70 jobs at the Louisville, Kentucky-based site.

The Brown-Forman cooperage produces barrels for Jack Daniel’s, among others

New equipment will be installed in the ‘heading’ and ‘staving’ departments of the cooperage, which produces more than 2,500 barrels per day for whisk(e)y brands Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Early Times, and Canadian Mist, as well as el Jimador and Herradura Tequilas.

Brown-Forman will offer “transitional assistance” to employees impacted, and will continue to employ approximately 205 individuals at the site.

The cooperage will remain open during the construction phase, with works expected to be complete by early 2019.

“As the only distilling company to craft its own barrels, making this investment will help ensure the long-term viability of our cooperage in Louisville, reduce injuries, and preserve our unique competitive advantage of barrel-making,” said Alex Alvarez, chief production officer, Brown-Forman.

“While the improvements will result in the loss of some hourly positions, we believe this will strengthen the long-term viability of the cooperage in Louisville.”

Brown-Forman also has a cooperage in Decatur, Alabama, where it crafts Jack Daniel’s barrels.

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