The wood article is nice but the author claims something that is completely wrong. He says that "In Russia, birch was traditionally a favorite for barrel production, while Norway and Sweden favored white cedar."
White cedar - Thuja occidentalis - has never been used for that purpose i Norway and Sweden. It does not grow naturally in Scandinavia but it has been imported as a plant för gardens and parks. But Thuja (as we call it in Sweden) is closely related to juniper which has been used for smaller containers in Sweden but not for barrels. Maybe the author has mixed it up here anyway?
I do not recommend white cedar for beer and other beverages - the wood contains a toxic - thujon.
//Björn Petersson, Sweden.