Investment in new technology at Brown-Forman Cooperage will result in job loss for 50 employees.
According to a release, the company will invest $45 million to “modernize the cooperage, reduce operating cost by improving efficiency, and allow the continued production of high quality barrels in Louisville.”
New equipment will focus on the heading and staving departments and, once fully implemented by 2019, will “necessitate the elimination of 70 hourly positions.” The cooperage will continue to employ about 205 workers. Those let go will receive a variety of offers for transitional assistance.
The cooperage will remain open during the technology upgrades.
“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,” says 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 Cooperage produces more than 2,500 barrels per day for spirits such as Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Early Times, Canadian Mist, el Jimador and Herradura. It is located on MacLean Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky.
Brown-Forman also operates a cooperage in Decatur, Alabama, where it makes barrels for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.