Whiskey barrels stacked
Whiskey Barrels Get Reused Often, Just Never For Bourbon
The wooden barrels used to distill whiskey are often reused, repurposed, or sold to other distillers. However, there's a specific exception to this practice in America.
In the United States, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) requires that bourbon barrels be new and can only be used once for making bourbon whiskey.
The barrels must also be made of charred oak, which imparts distinctive characteristics of bourbon's flavor, aroma, and earthy amber color.
While they aren’t used a second time to make bourbon, the absorbed flavors in the barrels are used to distill other alcohols like rum, wine, whiskey, gin, beer, cider, and tequila.
An authentic way to get that flavor infusion is to let food products, like honey, hot sauces, syrups, and soy sauces, rest in used bourbon barrels.
Outside the culinary world, oak bourbon barrels are repurposed as tables, chairs, rain catchers, home bars, bookshelves, and propane grill barrels.