The November 19, 2011 copy of the Scotsman ran a nice article on coopering. It really gives one a sense of the hard work that goes into producing the vessel—the cask, or in casual terms, barrel—that brings whiskey into full bloom. Read Peter Ross’ fine article it at http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/sport-columnists/aidan-smith/peter_ross_at_large_skilled_coopers_are_keeping_scotch_whisky_traditions_alive_1_1975590.
Thenthere is this eyepopping BBC bit on robots being used in cooperage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-15909142. In whiskey, it is always something old, and something new.