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45,000 barrels destroyed in Jim Beam warehouse fire

A fire broke out at a Jim Beam warehouse in Kentucky on Tuesday (2 July), damaging 45,000 barrels of whiskey.

The Jim Beam stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky

The incident, which occurred overnight, took place at Jim Beam’s facility in Versailles, Kentucky. No injuries were reported in the incident.

The fire, the cause of which is not yet known, destroyed all 45,000 barrels in the warehouse that contained “relatively young whiskey from the Jim Beam mash bill”, a Beam Suntory spokesperson confirmed.

“Given the age of the lost whiskey, this fire will not impact the availability of Jim Beam for consumers,” the statement read.

“We are grateful to the courageous firefighters from multiple jurisdictions who brought the fire under control and prevented it from spreading.

“Initial reports suggest the fire resulted from a lightning strike, and we will work with local authorities to confirm the cause and to remediate the impacts.

“We have a comprehensive warehouse safety programme that includes regular inspections and rigorous protocols to promote safety and the security of our ageing inventory. We operate 126 barrel warehouses in Kentucky that hold approximately 3.3 million barrels for our brands.

“We appreciate the support of our neighbours and the Kentucky Bourbon community as we manage through this incident.”

The last 12 months has seen a number of American whiskey producers involved in a series of incidents.

Last month, a warehouse containing thousands of whiskey barrels at the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky, caved in.

In July last year, a warehouse holding thousands of whiskey barrels at the Sazerac-owned Barton 1792 Distillery completely collapsed just weeks after part of the building came crashing down.

This was followed by a fermented mash spill at the Barton 1792 site in March 2019, which injured two people.

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