It wasn’t really a question of ‘if’ Jim Beam would get fined, it was a matter of ‘when’ and ‘how much’ they would get fined.
In the middle of a summer dry spell a barrel warehouse at the Old Crow Distillery was struck by lighting around 11:30pm on July 2, 2019. That lighting ignited a roof on fire. That fire soon jumped to a second identical warehouse. Thanks to the quick action of local firefighters one warehouse was saved while the other holding 45,000 barrels of Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon was totally destroyed and the beloved amber spirit found its way into nearby Glenns Creek along McCracken Pike in Versailles, Kentucky. The trail of fallen high proof spirits created a 23 mile flume that proved toxic to local aquatic life. It finally dissipated when it made its way to the Ohio River.
The good news is that no humans were hurt during this horrific fire. The fish and aquatic life in the creeks and rivers were not so lucky. According to the Courier Journal, “Jim Beam Brands Co. was fined $600,000 by Kentucky’s environmental agency. Jim Beam agreed to the fine in a December 6 order from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, and it will also reimburse the state agency $112,000 for its costs.”
There could be additional fees or fines if the state finds additional damage to the surrounding bodies of water in the upcoming months.
Not including any barrels that may have been saved the massive fire burned up approximately 1.4% of Jim Beam’s total bourbon inventory of 3,300,000 barrels at the time of the fire.
And if you are wondering, yes, there was a sprinkler system in place in the buildings but trying to stop 45,000 barrels of 125 proof bourbon from burning is a near impossible task. Fortunately no distillery employees or firefighters were injured during the event.
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Massive Fire Strikes Jim Beam Barrel Warehouse – 45,000 Barrels of Bourbon Destroyed [VIDEO]
Jim Beam Barrel Warehouse Fire Burns Itself Out – Effort Shifts to Clean Up of Grounds and River [PHOTOS]