“Out There…Somewhere”: Over a barrel in Bamberg

BAMBERG, S.C. (WJBF) – They are just barreling along in Bamberg.

“Well my background is in the liquor business. We were constantly being asked where we could get barrels because there was such a shortage. We thought, what the heck, we’ll roll the dice and see if we can make it work,” said Greg Pierce of Black Water Barrels in Bamberg.

This is Black Water Barrels where they make barrels for the wine, whiskey and beer makers.

The first barrel rolled out of here only in January.

What makes a good barrel? Well it’s the wood, white oak, and good barrel wood doesn’t come from Bamberg.

“We buy very expensive wood very expensive top grade wood from Minnesota to Missouri Mountains of North Carolina,” said Greg.

If a barrel doesn’t make the grade, the wood isn’t wasted. It gets turned into other items like dog beds or tables, coolers, even charcoal.

“We test every barrel. If there is a small leak, sometimes it’s not worth us trying to fix it. We just cull it out. We just let some of our folks use their imagination and make furniture out of it,” said Greg.

Now this isn’t a bad barrel. It’s being charred. Charring is used on bourbon barrels to enhance the flavor.

This may look like an industrial accident but this is what they were planning to do. Talk about being fired up.

“People, when they come through on tours, they’re amazed by the actual flame that comes out. They think it’s just going to burn on the inside of the barrel, but to get that actual char level, like some of the equipment here, it actually has to burn for a minute or two”, said Neil Walker the Finishing Floor Manager, who was charring the barrel.

These barrels are heading out to a winery in California, you know during Masters Week. A lot of people enjoying some refreshments, libations and maybe, just maybe, this tournament week, that refreshment got its start in a Black Water Barrel .

“I would say next year absolutely could be this year I’m not sure,” said Greg.

Around here they are over a barrel and you can believe that lock, stock and well you know.

Out there somewhere in Bamberg, George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6

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