Bourbon spill kills more than 1000 fish, distillery faces fines
Bourbon from Barton 1792 warehouse collapse spilled into nearby waters, poisoning fish. Company is facing fines from the state of Kentucky
Whiskey barrels were piled in a mountainous heap on Wednesday after the rest of a whisky storage warehouse collapsed in Kentucky, almost two weeks after a part of the decades-old structure came crashing down.
The rest of the massive structure collapsed at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Nelson County Emergency Management spokesman of the Spleen Spalding said. No injuries reported in collapse, he said.
“It is a mountain of bourbon barrels,” he said Wednesday.
Environmental and wildlife officials were on the scene to determine whether a whisky spilled into a nearby waterway, he said. The distillery owner Sazerac, a Louisiana-based spirits company, was confronted with a state penalty arising from the initial collapse.
In a statement, the company said its employees “worked quickly to the spill” on Wednesday, with none of the new effluent entering waterways.
After the first collapse last month, the company said that the damaged warehouse had held about 18,000 barrels of aging spirits. Up to half of the vessels within were affected by the first collapse, it said.
The company said at the time that the collapse had affected “a blend of various distilled products at different ages.” On Wednesday, said they did not know how many barrels can be saved or what the cause of the first collapse.
Cleanup crews are on the scene for the day, and the company with the name in “more resources” after the second collapse, Spalding said Wednesday. The warehouse was built in the 1940’s.
After the first collapse, a Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman said Sazerac would be cited for not reporting the discharge of whisky in a timely manner and for polluting waters. The spokesman said Barton 1792 moved quickly to stop the alcohol from entering the creek, but not alert the state quickly enough.
Whiskey in a nearby stream and the river killed about 800 fish after the first collapse, officials said. Bardstown is about 40 miles south of Louisville.
Nelson County Emergency Management director, Joe Prewitt said last month that he could not remember any other whisky warehouse collapse.
Bourbon ages for years in charred new oak barrels, where it gets its color and taste.
Sazerac also owns Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.
The Kentucky bourbon industry is in the midst of a more than $1.1 billion tree contains extensive production facilities, more storage warehouses and new tourist centres. Kentucky distillers more than 6.6 million bourbon barrels aging, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.