451 – Is There a Real White Oak Shortage? with Danna Baxley of The Nature Conservancy

The barrel is a magical component to the creation of bourbon and nearly 95% of all bourbon goes into white oak. But what’s the problem with this? Bourbon can only be used in a charred barrel once. After that, it needs to find a new home. Now that may sound wasteful but the bourbon market is only a very small contributor to the current white oak problem. To help us better understand about forestry and the white oak supply I’ve invited Daana Baxley from the Nature Conservancy in Kentucky to join the show. She gives some great insight into the current state of white oak trees and what is currently being done to protect our forests. I’ve never known what it takes to manage forests and this episode will give you an insight into grading and how invasive species of trees continue to decline the white oak population. But more so, Daana gives us some insight if we will ever experience a white oak shortage in the future and what we can do to help protect it.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about running out of old bourbon.
  • What took you on a path to nature preservation?
  • How are you able to achieve your mission without using scare tactics?
  • Why is Appalachia so important?
  • What does “protection” mean in the sense of a nature conservancy?
  • What is the current status of the white oak species?
  • What is the proper way to manage these forests?
  • What does high grading mean?
  • How has ash or maple impacted the population?
  • How many years into the future are we looking at when we will see a big white oak problem?
  • Is the bourbon industry a problem or is there another industry to blame?
  • Do bourbon drinkers even care if there is sustainability practices happening?
  • Do other industries join in conversation practices like the white oak initiative?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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