panel discussion

Replay: The Influence of Wood

In this panel, UPROXX Drinks Editor Zach Johnston, will lead a discussion on the influence of wood used in spirit production and aging.  Expert panelists, Amanda Beckwith, Lead Blender and Education Manager at Virginia Distillery Company, and William Hornaday, VP of Kelvin Cooperage, join Zach to discuss how things like different tree species, the treatment of the wood before and after making the casks, and used barrels can impact the final spirit.  Kelvin Cooperage is a full-service cooperage, coopering new barrels as well as selling a wide range of used barrels, offering numerous aging and finishing options.  Hornaday will walk us through how Kelvin Cooperage prepares the casks based on distillery needs, while Beckwith will give insight into how Virginia Distillery Company innovates through their wood program and use of Sherry, Bourbon, & Cuvée Casks.  

Return to this page on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022 at 5:45pm PST/8:45pm EST to join the live conversation or watch the replay on The Influence of Wood.  Log in to your account to participate in the live Q&A and engage directly with our expert panel during the event. 

Don’t forget to join us for other Panel Discussions, every Wednesday at 8:45pm EST/5:45pm PST

Zach Johnston, @ztpjohnston & Spirits Editor, UPROXX Life
Before getting into a writing career online, Zach spent years working around the globe as both a chef and a high-end bartender. Highlights include living with chefs in Thailand, cutting his teeth as a pizzaiolo in a Neapolitan pizzeria in Washington, DC, popping up with Indigenous American food tasting menus in Berlin, and opening oysters from the Pacific to the streets of Europe. He's also worked in organic wine bars in Prague, tended bar on Rhodes, and refined his cocktail skills at award-winning and iconic bars in Berlin. Zach parlayed those skills into writing for UPROXX where his burger recipes get hundreds of thousands of views and his whiskey tasting notes are some of the most read in the industry. Oh, and he still knows how to make a mean cocktail.
Special Guests:
Amanda Beckwith, Lead Blender & Education Manager, Virginia Distillery Co.
After launching the tour and tasting program for the distillery’s Visitors Center, Amanda moved into sensory and blending activities to support the growing product portfolio.  She has been fortunate to train with the best, including nosing expert Nancy Fraley, Scottish consultants Harry Cockburn, and the late Dr. Jim Swan. Amanda helped to develop and now leads the company’s sensory program, as well as internal and external company education and training.
William Hornaday, Vice President at Kelvin Cooperage
William Hornaday began working at Kelvin Cooperage as an intern while in college. Since 2009, he has worked his way through various roles within the company, and currently serves as Vice President. Recently, William has been involved in tasting panels to assist with unique barrel finishing projects, and has a deep rooted passion for bourbon and the exciting innovation that is taking place in the industry. Kelvin Cooperage, a family owned craft cooperage, was founded on the banks of the river Kelvin outside of Glasgow Scotland in 1963 and in 1991, Kelvin relocated to the heart of bourbon country, Louisville, KY.