We apologise for being the bearers of bad news, but as the headline would suggest, a shitload of delicious bourbon has unfortunately been lost in a blaze which took out a bonded warehouse in Kentucky. The warehouse, which was filled with whiskey barrels from the Jim Beam distillery, caught fire late on Tuesday.
Firefighters from four separate counties were called to contain the flames, which burned so hot that lights on the fire trucks were reportedly melted. There is some speculation that the fire may have been started by a lightning strike, though this is as yet unconfirmed. Runoff from the blaze has been pouring into the river, which is detrimental to the local ecosystem. As such, fierfighters have been trying to contain the burn, but keep it ablaze until more of the spirits have been burned, to avoid further polluting.
As reported by news.com.au, Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler said: “The longer it burns, the more of the distilled spirits burn with it. So when they go to put it out, there will be less contaminated runoff that goes into a drinking-water tributary.”
John Mura, a spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, is also reported as saying, “We do know there has been runoff enter the creek, and it has made its way into the Kentucky River.” Runoff from a distillery fire can have a serious impact on aquatic life, creating low dissolved oxygen levels which can easily result in substantial fish kills.
Large numbers of dead fish turned up in the Burnett River in Queensland’s Bundaberg, after their eponymous rum distillery burned down in 1936; it is commonplace for distilleries to be built on a river’s banks, close to a supply of fresh water.
One figure that makes the mind boggle is the fact that the 45,000 lost barrels represent only one per cent of Jim Beam’s inventory. Luckily, firefighters were able to contain the blaze to stop it from spreading to other warehouses, mitigating further damage and loss of stock for the bourbon giant.