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Second half of Barton bourbon warehouse collapses in Bardstown

About 9,000 barrels of bourbon sat in piles of debris after a section of a barrel storage warehouse collapsed in June at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown.
About 9,000 barrels of bourbon sat in piles of debris after a section of a barrel storage warehouse collapsed in June at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown.

The second half of the Barton 1792 Distillery bourbon warehouse that collapsed two weeks ago has fallen, affecting hundreds more barrels of bourbon, according to the Herald-Leader's reporting partner WKYT.

Bardstown Fire Chief Billy Mattingly told the Kentucky Standard after the first incident that the second half of the building was leaning and starting to bow. About 9,000 of the approximately 18,000 barrels of bourbon in the warehouse were affected two weeks ago, with some spilling into a tributary of Beech Fork River, killing hundreds of fish and prompting a fine from the state for parent company Sazerac, which also owns Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort.

Nelson County Emergency Management spokesman Milt Spalding told the Associated Press that no injuries were reported in either collapse, and that state and federal officials were on the scene to determine if more bourbon entered the water. Barton 1792 closed its visitor facility for the rest of the day.

Spalding said cleanup crews are still at the scene following the first collapse, and that the company called in more resources to deal with the collapse of the rest of the building, which was built in the 1940s.

"The remaining half of the warehouse that was still standing was unable to be secured after the initial collapse due to worker safety concerns," according to the distillery in a Wednesday evening press release.

Distillery officials were unsure how much of the bourbon could be salvaged, but indicated that plans are underway to construct a new warehouse to store the recovered barrels. Other warehouses at the facility have been inspected by third party experts and have been deemed safe, the distillery said.

John Mura, a spokesman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, said that it appeared all the bourbon spilled in the second collapse had been stopped by two containment ponds on the property that had been dug after the first spill, and had not reached Beech Fork River. He also said it is currently unclear if Sazerac will be fined a second time for the spill.

Chris Mura is with the Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com this summer on a college reporting internship and is related to a staff member of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.
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