The Barton 1792 Distillery has been around some 150 years, but the last 12 months have been rough for them. Last June, a rick house collapsed spilling 18,000 barrels barrels of whiskey. In January, a tragic accident claimed the life of an employee at the Owensboro, KY plant. Then, this week, another collapse dumped over 120,000 gallons of mash.
The incident began when the leg on a 55 gallon tank (called a ‘beer well’) buckled according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (KEEC). The beer well then came crashing down and slammed into three adjacent tanks.
In total, a 110,000 gallons of mash from the beer wells spilled into a secondary containment area according to authorities. An additional 10,000 gallons flowed into a storm drain that leads to a local stream despite an attempt to berm the area said KEEC.
“Anytime you have any kind of incident like that, it is a concern,” Nelson County Public Information Officer Milt told WAVE3, a local television station. “The main issues is to keep the public safe, and the crews worked hard yesterday to make that happen.”
Crews have tested the water regularly since the incident and so far, the water remains safe to drink according to KEEC.
Two workers received minor injuries in the accident.Both are expected to recover fully.
Barton 1792 is a subsidiary of American whiskey powerhouse, the Sazerac company. The affected facility turns out dozens of brands including 1792, Kentucky Gentleman, Very Old Barton, Fleischmann’s, Colonel Lee, Old Thompson, and Ten High.
Sazerac issued a brief statement confirming the event. Spokesperson Amy Preske added, “Currently we do not know the cause of the beer well failure and we are working to secure the area.”
The June collapse of a rickhouse at the Barton 1792 Distillery spilled thousands of barrels into a ginormous pile and sparked a viral social media sensation. In that case Barton attempted to own the accident though this detailed cleanup video.