Environmental damage from several gallons of spilled alcoholic spirits should be kept to a minimum, officials say, after a collapsing bourbon warehouse in Bardstown finally met its demise.
A partly collapsed warehouse on the distillery campus of Barton 1792 completely collapsed on the Fourth of July, spilling several gallons of environmentally-unfriendly alcoholic spirits onto the ground where it risked running into local waterways. Drainage pools dug after the first collapse contained all of the spilled bourbon, the distillery said, and officials from the state are looking to verify that.
"As far as containment, it's a much better situation this time," Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton told the Kentucky Standard after he left the scene. "But I can't say nothing got into the creek."
The warehouse, which according to the distillery housed approximately 18,000 barrels of bourbon, half collapsed in late June, affecting about half of the bourbon barrels. The spilled alcohol ran into a nearby tributary—killing about 800 fish, an Associated Press report said. The cause of the first collapse is still unknown.
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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.
Emergency response crews from the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection were back on the scene Wednesday night and Thursday morning to assess the damage and any possible leakage, Mura said.
After the first collapse, Sazerac, the distillery's parent company was cited by the state for polluting waters and for not reporting the spill quickly enough. Mura said that the company will likely not be fined for the second collapse as the company reported in a timely manner and it appears that no bourbon entered the water.
There is no residual effect on the waterways after the first spill, Mura added.
The half of the warehouse that was left standing after the first collapse could not be secured because of worker safety concerns, the distillery said Wednesday via press release. The number of salvageable barrels is currently unknown.
"It is a mountain of bourbon barrels," Nelson County Emergency Management spokesman Milt Spalding told the AP.
Spalding said there were no injuries in either collapse as no one was in the building.
Barton 1792's other barrel warehouses were inspected by third party experts and were deemed safe, the distillery said in the release.