Nearly 100 people gathered on KY 801 North Tuesday to witness the Independent Stave Company break ground for their Commonwealth Cooperage, expected to create 220 jobs with a $66.5 million investment.

The groundbreaking celebrated the onset of the new cooperage’s construction near the Morehead-Rowan County Airport at 201 Rodney Hitch Blvd.

Using locally manufactured staves, Commonwealth Cooperage will produce white oak barrels for the bourbon and whiskey industries.

With construction complete, the cooperage will become the company’s third in the state, joining its 500-employee Kentucky Cooperage in Lebanon and a used barrel cooperage in Louisville, which refurbishes and provides freshly dumped whiskey barrels to breweries and wineries.

In the last four years, ISC has opened two stave mills within the state, Benton Wood Products in Marshall County and Morehead Wood Products off Cranston Road, a 120-employee operation with a more than $11 million investment.

Morehead Wood Products will supply the Commonwealth Cooperage with staves and heads for barrel construction.