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BARDSTOWN, Ky. – Heaven Hill Distillery has launched a logger certification sponsorship program in partnership with Independent Stave Company (ISC), creating a collective of family-owned companies dedicated to the future of American Whiskey. As part of Heaven Hill Brands’ corporate sustainability strategy first announced in January 2021, conserving the ecosystems that support the greater distilled industry and partners is a key priority. A sustainable supply of white oak is critical to the future supply of American Whiskey and the generations of loggers whose livelihoods depend on the trees.

Beginning in 2020, Heaven Hill and ISC sponsored loggers to complete sustainability certification through their state association logging programs, resulting in 120 certified loggers to date. As a core tenet of Heaven Hill’s sustainability values, the cultivation of thriving communities placed a focus on forestry management and an investment in education for those who first touch the natural resources that create the barrels. Much like the whiskey process from grain to glass, the journey of an American white oak takes years of patience. From an acorn to a tree ready for the cooperage, a span of 30-100 years may pass. The long-term forest management is crucial to helping trees thrive, and cooperages rely on the certified loggers to implement timber stand improvement, tree-felling and general safety guidelines.

“A sustainable supply of white oak entails relationships with the landowners, loggers, cooperages and the distilleries who all rely on each other as good stewards of these natural resources,” said Rachel Nally, Heaven Hill Environmental & Sustainability Manager. “We often consider the life of a barrel after the Whiskey is dumped, but it’s the sustainable forestry management that enables us to start that lifecycle. Heaven Hill’s partnership with Independent Stave Company to educate loggers is another step in ensuring the future of the industry.”

Loggers interested in future certification or state associations interested in learning more about sponsorship for American White Oak courses can contact Independent Stave Company at Loggercertificationprogram@Independentstavecompany.com. Together, Heaven Hill and ISC will continue to fund this training initiative as good stewards of natural resources and create opportunity for safer, smarter logging. As more trees thrive under these practices, so do the generations of business to come. To learn more about how this program was implemented with the Tennessee Forestry Association, please visit the Heaven Hill Distillery blog here.

“Through Independent Stave Company’s partnership with Heaven Hill, we are aiming to create a sustainable future for generations of loggers and landowners,” said Jason Stout, Vice President of Business Development. “Loggers are the heart of America and preserve the tradition of white oak that sustains the spirit of America, Whiskey. We are excited to provide an opportunity to further the education of these hard-working men and women whose livelihoods depend on sustainable forestry.”