Just arrived at the reuse warehouse: 53-gallon oak whiskey barrels!

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ into the reuse warehouse: an exciting donation of 53-gallon whiskey barrels! Now for sale in our reuse warehouse and online in our Community Forklift Marketplace, the oak barrels have steel hoops and some great patina. They’re also stamped with a variety of distillery names, including Jack Daniel and Buffalo Trace.

A huge thanks goes out to the DC location of the Other Half Brewing Co. who made this generous donation so that the barrels can be creatively reused! The Brooklyn-based brewery opened their DC outpost at 1401 Okie St NE in the Ivy City neighborhood in 2020. Open seven days a week, the taproom has indoor and outdoor spaces and sells beer for enjoying onsite and also to go.

So why does a DC brewery have so many whiskey barrels to donate? According to Head Brewer Daniel Terrones, Other Half sources them from brokers or distillers and quickly fills them with their beer that’s ready to age. The beer matures in the barrels and simultaneously extracts the spirit and oak character. Reuse at its finest!

All good things must come to an end, however.

“We only use barrels for aging one batch of beer,” Daniel says. “Once we transfer the beer from the barrels, we have stripped all the desirable flavors from the wood. After we transfer the beer out, the barrels are very prone to leaks and growing beer-spoiling bacteria.”

Enter Community Forklift! Now that both the distilleries and brewery have used the barrels, they are ready for creative reuse and upcycling. Great for gardens, decoration, and furniture, the sturdy barrels have a ton of useful reuses. Check out a few ideas we’ve mocked up in the gallery below (and one that was donated and sold through our reuse warehouse last year!) or do an internet search for your own inspiration.

  • a sofa created using three whiskey barrels
  • a single wood slab supported by two whiskey barrels
  • two plants sitting on top of a barrel
  • a single barrel being used as a bar table

If you’re interested in starting your own whiskey barrel creative reuse project, check out the barrels listed in our Community Forklift Marketplace! You can also see them in person at our reuse warehouse, open every day from 12 to 5 pm. If you need help finding them, just ask a member of the staff to show you the way!

Thanks again to Other Half DC — and to YOU, reader — for preventing these barrels from going to waste!

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Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse.  We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.