Locals take on Pernod over whisky fungus claims

20th May, 2014 by Amy Hopkins

Scottish residents have objected to plans by Pernod Ricard to expand its warehouses in Beith over concerns the whisky ageing process is causing a black fungus to grow on their homes.


Beith residents have expressed concern over Chivas Brothers plans to expand its whisky warehouses

A group of Beith locals have launched a campaign against Chivas Brothers, the whisky and gin arm of French group Pernod Ricard, called Stop Chivas Regal, claiming that the planned build of six new warehouses in the Willowyard industrial estate will increase the amount of black mould that already sits on their properties.

Debate over whether the “angels share” of the whisky ageing process, that is, the whisky that evaporates from barrels as the liquid ages, has been running for some time.

Some believe that when the ethanol that evaporates during the whisky ageing process is mixed with humid air, a black fungus is created and rests outside surfaces.

A group of Louisville residents filed a class action lawsuit against Diageo, Brown Forman and Heaven Hill over the same issue in May 2012.

However, Chivas Brothers has claimed, as did Diageo, Brown-Forman and Heaven Hill, that the fungus is not solely confined to areas where whisky is aged.

A spokesperson for the group said: “This land is owned by Chivas Brothers, and has historically been zoned for industrial use. The development will help us retain strong working links to Beith and the surrounding area.”

“Chivas Brothers is committed to maintaining the highest possible environmental standards. Naturally-occurring microflora is not confined to areas where Scotch Whisky is produced and can be found in environments across the UK. We will continue to monitor all research developments in this area.”

The statement added that Chivas Brothers was currently speaking with all interested parties, including Beith residents, as part of the requirement for public consultation on the Willowyard development.

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