State to fine company after leak from bourbon warehouse collapse kills hundreds of fish

Friday's partial collapse of a Bardstown rickhouse containing 20,000 barrels of Barton 1792 bourbon will lead to a fine to the distillery's owner, a state official said Monday.

Approximately 800 fish were killed by bourbon flowing into a nearby stream and river when nearly half of the barrels in the Barton 1792 warehouse came crashing down Friday.

John Mura from the Kentucky Energy and Environmental Cabinet said Sazerac, which owns the distillery, will be cited for failing to report the spill in a timely manner and for polluting the waters.

The penalties are up to $25,000 per day, per violation. The Division of Enforcement will decide what the penalties will be, according to Mura.

Mura said Barton 1792 moved quickly Friday to stop the alcohol from entering the creek, but did not alert the state quickly enough.

"We are continuing to be on site doing water testing and overseeing the clean up," Mura said. When asked how long he anticipates the state will be on site, Mura simply said "it'll be a while."

The state is still working to determine if land or underground drainage systems have been affected due to the spillage of bourbon, Mura said.

"Even though the flow into the creek has stopped, they have to clean up what is on the ground and make sure there are no compromised barrels," he said.

The cause of Friday's collapse has not been determined. It's not clear how many of the barrels ruptured, spilling their contents.

"Our main focus right now is clean up and assessment, which will likely take days, if not weeks," said Amy Preske, spokeswoman for Sazerac.