Fatal distillery explosion due to still pressureBy Amy Hopkins
A massive explosion at Kentucky’s Silver Trail Distillery which killed one employee and left another critically injured was caused by a still that was “not designed to hold pressure”.
In April this year a “massive equipment failure” caused an explosion at the Silver Trail Distillery in Hardin County, Kentucky, which subsequently “burned to the ground”.
Second distiller Jay Rogers and his assistant Kyle Rogers were both critically injured in the blast, and Kyle later died as a result of his injuries.
The Kentucky State Fire Marshall has now released a report claiming a moonshine still at the distillery was not designed to hold pressure nor fitted with the correct pressure relief valve, causing it to rupture.
The still was manufactured by Revenoor Company Incorporated, against whom Silver Trail Distillery’s owner Spencer Balentine and Jay Rogers have launched legal action.
In a Facebook post, Balentine said the report verified that an internal plate had been “tack welded” as opposed to “welded fully around”, causing “immediate over pressurisation which ruptured the still bottom and sent it hurtling through the door”.
The pressure valve of the still did not open, Balentine claims, since it was too large for the still.
“Silver Trail will be asking the state about the convening of a grand jury to decide if criminal charges will be pending,” he added.
“All agencies, federal, state and local have cleared Silver Trail to regain any licenses without prejudice meaning all licenses are good when we build back.
“Thank you everyone everywhere for your kind thoughts, words, deeds and most of all prayers. I promise you that Kyle and Jay will have justice.”
The Silver Trail Distillery was opened in 2011 by former moto-cross racer Balentine, and as well as securing several blind tasting awards for its moonshine, has also been featured in the Discovery Channel show Moonshiners.
It was made an official member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s (KDA) Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour in 2012.