The Wall Street Journal reported a crisis in the whiskey business; a barrel shortage.
Tripp Mickel, the reporter states, “In 50 years of making bourbon barrels, no one had ever offered Leroy McGinnis more than what he charged for them. But over the past six months, multiple distillers have offered to pay him $250 a barrel, almost double what he asked in the beginning of the year.”
The offer illustrates just how scarce bourbon barrels have become. As bourbon sales have soared, barrel production has struggled to keep up. The barrel shortage is entering its third year.
The bourbon industry has a product in demand. They have the mash, distilleries and distribution. None of it works without whiskey barrels, however. A charred oak barrel with enough time, will turn some nasty brew into a fine spirit. The liquor, protected by the barrel, ages, mellows, and develops a unique taste and flavor. It becomes more precious.
Like a good marriage.
Actually, it’s not the barrels that are in short supply but the coopers. A cooper is the barrel maker. Coopers have the time-honored skills to shape the wood, band the staves and fabricate whiskey barrels that last for decades. And coopering is becoming a lost art. No coopers, no barrels. It’s that simple.
At Happy2gether.org we have coopers.
Well actually we call them “Coaches.” Our coaches have the skills to help couples build a toolkit in workshop sessions and build protective hoops around their relationship. With their new skills and tools, couples return home and re-build the closeness and passion they remember.
A friend of mine, let’s call him Benny, went to the Makers Mark factory in Loretto, Kentucky. He loves their whiskey and bought a new barrel, freshly distilled. They told him to come back in 10 years to pick it up!
Benny returned to the factory a decade later and they had a big sign up commemorating his aged batch; a celebration in his name. They also had Maker’s Mark labels stating, “Specially aged for Benny” and allowed him to pour, bottle and cork his treasure. We had a great time when he returned home. Who buys a barrel of whiskey and waits 10 years to pick it up? Incredible.
About 6-months later I was in his neighborhood and looked Benny up. No Rochelle, his wife of 18-years and mother of the three kids. No kids either. Here is how he summed up their relationship, ”We spent 8 months preparing for the wedding and nothing preparing for the marriage.”
How could a guy that waited ten years for a batch of whiskey neglect to find time to preserve the relationship with his wife?
I guess he picked a cooper over a coach. Despite many invitations, Benny and Rochelle never made it to a Happy2gether event.
Benny and Rochelle more the rule than the exception. Every week I see angry, desperate, impatient, rude, vindictive, scared, selfish and conniving people that all have one thing in common; they are in a committed relationship, maybe even a marriage. Rancor, fear, impatience and blame rule each day; days that began a few short years ago with tenderness, agreement, sex, joy, play, dreaming, togetherness and happiness.
I think that every marriage needs a coach to learn the skills needed to protect their romance, strengthen bonds and overcome conflict together. A barrel their marriage can age in, becoming sweeter and more intoxicating over time.
Anyone can learn the skills and we help them develop their own toolbox and the skills to apply them properly. Any marriage can become new again, even better then it was, better then you can ever imagine it to be.
Mary Beth and I were on the brink of divorce, with 4 kids.
A couple of friends took us to a Love for Life workshop and we learned to make a barrel of tools we use every day to sharpen our marriage. We are married now for 42 years and I have maintained every man’s dream, “My girlfriend and my wife are the same person!”
We are happy and want you to be happy. Come to a Love for Life workshop, hosted by Happy2gether.org, a community resource center.
Ain’t no whiskey being made without the barrel.