Barrel maker to locate in Bamberg

A barrel maker Wednesday announced it will establish a cooperage in Bamber County, where it will manufacture barrels for the bourbon, fine wines, and whiskey industries.

South Carolina Oak to Barrel LLC. Announced it would invest $6.8 million and create 122 new jobs at the former Black Water Barrels Plant at 3914 Bamberg Highway. Black Water Barrels announced in November 2019 it was temporarily closing as part of a restructuring effort. The company never reopened.

The Facility is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2021.

“South Carolina Oak to Barrel LLC. Is honored to bring our operations to Bamberg,” CEO Dagney Johnson said. “Our woman-owned business produces the highest-quality whiskey and wine barrels in the region and beyond”.

According to its website, the company will manufacture barrels starting with standing timber, specifically white oak.

The company touts itself as the only woman-owned cooperage in the state and one of the only woman-owned cooperages in the nation.

Johnson praised state leaders Gov. Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Southern Carolina Alliance for making the project happen.

“The market presence and, most importantly, the people of Bamberg and the state of South Carolina, were key factors in our decision,” Johnson said. “We look forward to building long-term relationships throughout the state and showing others the great opportunities to be had in South Carolina.”

Company officials say the fact that the facility had equipment also made it attractive.

Bamberg will be the company’s first facility.

An Alabama native, Johnson has connections to South Carolina. She went to high school at Hilton Head Preparatory School: “I love the people in the state and it is really home to me,” Johnson said. “It shaped who I am. Some of my best friends live in South Carolina.” “To be in Bamberg and South Carolina was something I could not pass up,” she said.

Johnson’s interest in the bourbon industry has been instilled for a “long time” as she resides part-time in Kentucky.

She said her research has shown there is a barrel shortage that needs to be filled.

Johnson said she believes the culture of the cooperage business is open to females.

“The opportunity became available to us,” Johnson said. “My partners are all men and they are wonderful and supportive. Working from A team perspective, it felt right.”

Johnson is the founder of Dagney Johnson Law Group in Birmingham, Alabama. She serves as criminal defense lawyer who also handles family law.

Johnson also is CEO of Viridis Energy Systems and Solutions, an energy service and technology company specializing in renewable energy solutions.

According to South Carolina Secretary of State online records, South Carolina Oak to Barrel LLC was incorporated Aug. 27. The company lists David Hutto as the registered agent. Hutto will serve as head of operations of the facility and is a native of Bamberg.

Bamber County Council Chairman Larry Haynes said South Carolina Oak to Barrel’s announcement is just the beginning.

“We look forward to a long relationship with the company moving forward as they grow their operations,” Haynes said. “It’s a good day in Bamberg County, and we are looking forward to the coming year.”

“Southern Carolina Alliance welcomes South Carolina Oak to Barrel LLC, which will be a great addition to our manufacturing community,” Southern Carolina Alliance President and CEO Danny Black said. “Their significant job creation in this rural area, combined with excellent wages, will create new opportunities for each of their 122 employees. Every job created provides an opportunity for a brighter future for a family in this region.”

The announcement received statewide praise.

“Today’s announcement is huge win for South Carolina,” McMaster said. “By continuing to provide a business-friendly environment, we can help bring in more job-creating investments like this one to the Palmetto State.”

S.C. Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III said South Carolina Oak to Barrel is just one of many companies seeing the perks of locating to the state.

“It’s exciting to see more and more companies learn the benefits of doing business in South Carolina,” Lightsey said. “We welcome South Carolina Oak to Barrel LLC to the Palmetto State and celebrate the 122 new jobs the company will create in Bamberg County.”

Individuals interested in joining the South Carolina Oak to Barrel LLC team should contact the company at 803-676-4240 or at [email protected].

The company’s website is:

Article written by Gene Zaleski, T&D Staff Writer, T&D