Barton Distillery: Second half of building collapses; thousands of barrels affected

Courtesy WLKY

Courtesy WLKY

After half of a seven-storey rackhouse at the Barton 1792 Distillery collapsed, thousands of barrels of bourbon and brandy were piled up.

On Wednesday, the remainder of a bourbon warehouse that partially collapsed last month came crashing down in Bardstown, Kentucky.

WLKY says the Bardstown Fire Department is now responding to the scene, where hundreds of bourbon barrels have fallen in the building collapse.

"As a result of the Barton 1792 Distillery team's preparation and quick action, no runoff from today's collapse entered any waterways", she added.

About 18,000 were in the warehouse before the first collapse - which affected an estimated 9,000 barrels - and the distillery says it is not yet known how many barrels from the second collapse can be salvaged.

According to Bardstown Fire Chief Billy Mattingly, the "mountain" included not only the barrels from Wednesday's collapse, but the thousands of barrels that had not yet been removed from the first collapse.

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Each barrel contains about 53 gallons of liquor.

The team are working with the local fire and police department and the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection are onsite to provide guidance. So with 9,000 barrels biting that dust, well, that's a lot of bourbon.

State environmental officials had said they would fine Sazerac Inc., parent company of the distillery, up to $25,000 per day. The cause of the first collapse is still unknown.

It's not clear how numerous barrels can be salvaged, local media reported. Sazerac is already facing citations for the original alcohol spill and for not reporting it promptly to state officials.

Barton 1792's other barrel warehouses were inspected by third party experts and were deemed safe, the distillery said in the release.

Following Wednesday's collapse, the distillery has begun vacuuming bourbon out of the drainage pools and has hired a private contractor to check Withrow Creek and Beech Fork River every four hours for 48 hours to see if there is any trace of bourbon in the waterways, said John Mura, a spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

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