Kentucky distillery collapse sends 9,000 barrels of bourbon crashing to ground, story just gets worse [UPDATED]

Illustration for article titled Kentucky distillery collapse sends 9,000 barrels of bourbon crashing to ground, story just gets worse [UPDATED]
Photo: James Leynse (Getty Images)

Update, July 5: Is there no god? This story takes yet another tragic turn, as the Associated Press reports the remainder of the bourbon warehouse has collapsed nearly two weeks after the building was first damaged. Thankfully, this time it’s less likely any contaminant entered nearby streams (see the update below). It’s still unknown whether any whiskey will be salvageable, or what the cause of the structural damage was.


Update, June 26: This story gets even worse. WSIL-3 reports spillage from last week’s distillery collapse is to blame for the deaths of about 1,000 fish in nearby Withrow Creek and Beach Fork River, according to the Kentucky Energy And Environmental Cabinet. The fish, apparently, could not drink like fish.

Say it isn’t so! (Because we need our bourbon now more than ever.) Louisville’s WLKY reports a Friday morning accident at Barton 1792 distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, sent 9,000 barrels of bourbon crashing to the ground. That’s nearly a half-million gallons of precious whiskey whose fate is now in jeopardy.

According to WLKY, the bourbon barrels’ supports collapsed, spilling the wooden vessels outside of the building’s walls. Nelson County Emergency Management spokesman Milt Spalding told the station that the building housed 20,000 barrels, of which about half of which crashed to the ground. Each barrel full of whiskey weighs about 550 pounds.

There were no reports of any injuries—except, potentially, to the barrels—but employees of the Environmental Protection Agency were dispatched to determine whether any alcohol had sunk into the surrounding soil or groundwater. According to Barton 1792's website, the distillery’s site includes 29 barrel-aging warehouses, so presumably there are other supplies that can offset any bourbon lost. Still, seeing any booze—let along 9,000 barrels of it—go to waste during these trying times makes our hearts ache.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.



Kate, you might want to fix your math here. I don’t think anyone could reasonably call 9,000 out of 20,000 “about a quarter”.

Okay, now that my asshole math pedantry is done, I think I’m going to drink some bourbon tonight in honor of this fallen liquor.