Kentucky

Second Kentucky bourbon warehouse collapses in less than a year

Part of bourbon warehouse collapses in Kentucky

The rickhouse of a bourbon warehouse at the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Daviess County collapsed around midnight June 17, 2019. This footage of the damage was posted by WFIE's Jim Stratman.
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The rickhouse of a bourbon warehouse at the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Daviess County collapsed around midnight June 17, 2019. This footage of the damage was posted by WFIE's Jim Stratman.

A year after a bourbon barrel warehouse collapsed in Bardstown, a rickhouse at another distillery in Western Kentucky has collapsed.

A quadrant of Rickhouse H at the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Daviess County collapsed overnight, according to a statement from the company released Monday afternoon.

“No employees were in the vicinity and no additional damage occurred to either the distillery or neighboring properties. No one was injured,” according to the statement.

Jacob Call, master distillery at O.Z. Tyler and local authorities, including representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, arrived immediately and “have concluded that no environmental damage has occurred,” the company said.

Of the 19,400 barrels aging in the warehouse, about 4,500 were in the quadrant that collapsed, including “a small fraction that appear to have damage,” the company said. “A team of structural engineers is on site to assess the structural integrity of the building,” according to the statement. “In addition, a recovery plan for the affected area and all barrels in the warehouse is underway.”

Maj. Barry Smith of the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department said a caller reported part of the warehouse came down about 10 minutes after midnight.

“It is in a situation ... it looks like other portions of the building could collapse,” Smith said.

Ewing Road beside the warehouse, which is on the west side of the distillery, was closed for cleanup, he said.



Smith said it was unclear what caused the warehouse to collapse. “We did have storm through earlier, about 10 p.m.,” Smith said. “I’m sure an investigation is going on as to exactly what happened, and they will start the cleanup.”

There was some bourbon spilled, but a lot of the barrels did not spill, he said.

The distillery, which was not affected, was operating and open for tours Monday.

The distillery, which is at 10 Distillery Road in Owensboro, is between the Ohio River and the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden. A distillery was built on the site in 1885, burned in 1918, rebuilt in 1936 as Medley Distilling Co. and closed in 1992.

In 2014, South Carolina-based Terressentia bought the 26-acre site and invested $25 million to produce a new bourbon, which it began distilling in August 2017.

The 135-year-old distillery received approval from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for up to $1.3 million in incentives. In addition to traditional distilling, Terressentia’s TerrePure also uses an accelerated aging process to reduce impurities and create spirits.

Monday’s destruction was the second time in less than a year that a Kentucky bourbon barrel warehouse collapsed overnight. On June 22, half of a rickhouse at the Barton distillery in Bardstown came down. The second half came down two weeks later.

A large portion of a bourbon barrel storage facility at Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown collapsed on June 22, 2018.

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