Jim Beam - The Old Crow Distillery Company Barrel Warehouse Fire July 2019

A massive fire broke out at a Jim Beam barrel warehouse last night around 11:30pm. There was a severe storm in the area at the time and early reports say that a lightning strike may have started the blaze.

The interior journal. (Stanford, Ky.) 1872-1881, July 06, 1877, Image 2
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Newpaper archives reported a fire at this location way back in the 1800s. Clipping via The Interior Journal – July 06, 1877.

The bourbon aging warehouse sit along Glenns Creek on McCracken Pike in Versailles, Kentucky. They are often referred to as Jim Beam warehouses but the historic sign at the gate uses the name The Old Crow Distillery Company. The Old Crow Bourbon Whiskey brand is owned by Jim Beam’s parent company Beam Suntory. There are no whiskey making operations at this location. The actual Jim Beam Distillery and bourbon making operation is located in Clermont, Kentucky approximately 70 miles away.

1.4% of Jim Beam Bourbon Inventory Goes Up in Smoke

The good news is no one has been reported injured while trying to control the blaze. Two warehouses caught fire but amazingly one fire was contained while the other one burned up 45,000 barrels of bourbon or about 1.4% of Jim Beam’s total bourbon inventory of 3,300,000 barrels.

As you can see from this photo taken earlier this year the barrel warehouses are very close to each other. Glenns Creek flows next to the barrel warehouses on the left at the bottom of the ravine.

Beam Suntory Statement

Jim Beam’s parent company Beam Suntory released this statement about the fire.

“We are thankful that no one was injured in this incident, and we are grateful to the courageous firefighters from multiple jurisdictions who brought the fire under control and prevented it from spreading. Initial report suggest the fire resulted from a lightning strike, and we will work with local authorities to confirm the cause and to remediate the impacts.

We have a comprehensive warehouse safety program that includes regular inspections and rigorous protocols to promote safety and the security of our aging inventory. We operate 126 barrel warehouses in Kentucky that hold approximately 3.3 million barrels for our brands, and the warehouse that was destroyed contained 45,000 barrels of relatively young whiskey from the Jim Beam mash bill. Given the age of the lost whiskey, this fire will not impact the availability of Jim Beam for consumers.

We appreciate the support of our neighbors and the Kentucky Bourbon community as we manage through this incident.”

We will update this story as more details are released.

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Drone footage over the barre warehouses.

Raw video footage of the fire.

View all Kentucky Distilleries.

Vintage Old Crow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Advertisement

Dr. James Crow - Father of his Countries Whiskey
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Vintage Old Crow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey ad. Dr. James Crow. “Father of his Countries Whiskey.”

– Advisory Issued –
Recreational users of Kentucky River are cautioned

Due to the July 2 fire at the Jim Beam bourbon warehouse in Woodford County, and the anticipated impact to the Kentucky River, recreational users are encouraged to be aware of conditions and use caution while on the river.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet officials anticipate that runoff from the bourbon fire will create conditions that include water discoloration, foaming, and an odor. The runoff is anticipated to create low dissolved oxygen levels, which could have a serious impact on the aquatic life in the river, including substantial fish kills.

The cabinet s emergency response team, Woodford and Franklin counties’ Emergency Management the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and an environmental contractor hired by the Jim Beam are working to limit the impact on the waterway.

The bourbon warehouse, located along McCracken Pike near Glen’s Creek, caught fire late Tuesday night. Approximately 45,000 barrels of bourbon, containing approximately 2.5 million gallons, have been destroyed.

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