Beer Fact Friday: Hoop Driver
The bourbon, wine, rum, and cognac barrels we employ to make beers like Sirius Black and Heavy Lifter usually have to travel across several states—or, in some cases, several countries—before they reach Tempe, and they sometimes arrive at our brewery a little worse for the wear. Pretty often, in fact, the wooden staves have dried and shifted so much during transit that the metal hoops holding the barrel together become loose or slip right off. That’s where the hoop driver comes in.
By holding the flat, metal end of this tool against a barrel’s hoops and whacking the other end with a hammer or mallet, a brewer can drive the loose rings back toward the center of the barrel, pressing the staves closer together and keeping the barrel from developing leaks.