Joseph Burkett at Old State Farms in Emlenton, Pennsylvania, is among a growing number of food producers experimenting with barrel aging. For three years, he’s been aging his small-batch syrup in barrels that once gave color, flavor and character to spirits made in Pennsylvania and Jamaica.
Specific whiskeys like bourbon and rye are required to be aged in charred new oak barrels. When empty, most of those barrels were then sent to wholesalers and repurposed into furniture or sent overseas for Scotch whisky. Many are finding a second life with brewers,