More than 45,000 barrels of young and aging bourbon whiskey went up in flames earlier this week – and just before the 4th of July holiday, believe it or not.
But beyond the devastation caused to the age-old facility and the nearby ecosystem, many have wondered what kind of an impact this would have on Jim Beam’s ability to keep store shelves stocked with their world famous liquor.
According to WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky, two barrel houses at this Jim Beam aging facility caught fire late Tuesday night after a small fire started and then quickly grew and spread.
Fire crews were dispatched to handle the blaze and were seemingly able to extinguish the blaze in one of the buildings, but the other barrel house was still burning on Wednesday morning. Now, they are still operating controlled fires on the remainder.
We are starting to see the environmental results of the Jim Beam fire. Thousands of dead fish are floating down the Kentucky River following runoff from the plant. In terms of the fire, it is still burning. It is a small controlled burn expected to last another day. @WKYT pic.twitter.com/rXGUZOXPex
— WKYT Nick Oliver (@WKYTNick) July 5, 2019
The facility, which sits right on the Kentucky River, unfortunately, leaked an unknown number of barrels of whiskey into the river and it has killed off thousands of fish.
Believe it or not, officials have had to issue a warning to the public to NOT EAT THE DEAD OR DYING FISH because it could be hazardous to their health.
Most of the fish were either catfish, perch, or carp. Crawfish also were discovered living in that part of the river as well.
In the days since the fire began, the company, Jim Beam, has assessed the damage and revealed to the world the effect this disaster could have on their supply chain.
According to Forbes, the company likely lost more than $45 million worth of product alone – and that’s considered a conservative estimate.
In a statement to 9NOW from Australia, Jim Beam explained that because of how young the whiskey was, they don’t expect it to impact their ability to get the product into customer’s hands.
“Given the age of the lost whiskey, this fire will not impact the availability of Jim Beam for consumers.”
Watch 9Now’s full report below.