russ karash invented the squarrel barrel in 2015
Russ Karash- already the inventor of the wood spiral, the honeycomb insert, and the grooved barrel- had the idea for the reusable Squarrel barrel while driving home from the 2015 American Distilling Institute conference in Louisville, KY. Russ is a major part of Black Swan Cooperage (he and his daughter Heidi still manage it today) and after the show he was looking to source extra wood to build the barrels needed to satisfy orders that had just been placed.
However, this was during a big oak tree shortage and appropriately sized wood was scarce. (Still is.)
This is when Russ has his epiphany. What if a smaller piece of wood could be used? What if there was a type of frame to provide the structure? What if we didn't have to use so much wood to make a barrel?!
And the idea was born. Perhaps one of the first disruptive barrel technologies since the Celts invented the barrel some 2000 years ago, the Squarrel began to take shape. It can use a small stave that other cooperages don't need or want, the stave can stay flat, and since each stave is separate each barrel can be fully customized. These are barrels that provide everything that you need without any of the waste.
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