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Remainder of whiskey warehouse collapses in Kentucky

06 July 2018

What was left standing of a Kentucky distillery's bourbon aging warehouse came crashing down on Wednesday, around two weeks after the first half of the building collapsed, contaminating nearby waters and killing almost 1,000 fish.

Half of a seven-storey rackhouse at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, collapsed on Wednesday, after the first half toppled on June 22, the Kentucky Standard reported.

The bourbon warehouse in Bardstown that partially collapsed last month collapsed completely Wednesday afternoon, sending thousands of barrels tumbling to the ground, authorities said.

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Spalding said state and federal officials are on the scene to determine if any bourbon spilled into nearby streams. That half of the structure survived the initial June 22 collapse, but the potential for it to come down had structural engineers trying to find a way to shore up the structure and allow for workers to begin removing the estimated 9,000 barrels damaged or destroyed in the initial collapse. Up to half the barrels inside were affected by the first collapse, it said.

The team are working with the local fire and police department and the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection are onsite to provide guidance. The company credited the distillery team's "preparation and quick action", and notified state government environmental regulators "immediately." the statement said. It's not clear what caused either collapse.

Bourbon ages for years in charred new oak barrels, where it acquires its color and flavor.

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According to Preske, plans are underway to construct a new warehouse to house the salvaged barrels.

Following the first collapse, a Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman said Sazerac would be cited for failing to report the spill of whiskey in a timely manner and for polluting waters.

The Barton 1792 Distillery rackhouse held about 18,000 201-litre barrels of alcohol. All of those warehouses passed inspection, as did the warehouses at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort and Glenmore Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky.

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Remainder of whiskey warehouse collapses in Kentucky