Massive Fire At Beam Rickhouse Destroys Tens of Thousands of Bourbon Barrels

By Neat Pour Staff |

The bad year for Kentucky rick houses continued this week. On Wednesday (7.03) firefighters battled blazes at two of Jim Beam’s rick houses in Versailles, Kentucky according to local authorities.

The warehouses each held about 45,000  barrels of whiskey. Woodford County Emergency Management reported that the flames at the second warehouse were extinguished. 

The fire at the first building was under control, but still burning on Wednesday afternoon. The high heat generated by the blaze hindered efforts by the emergency personnel.

“We are thankful that no one was injured in this incident, and we are grateful to the courageous firefighters from multiple jurisdictions who brought the fire under control and prevented it from spreading,” Jim Beam’s parent, Beam Suntory, said in a statement. “We have a comprehensive warehouse safety program that includes regular inspections and rigorous protocols to promote safety and the security of our aging inventory.”

Emergency management theorized that a Tuesday (7.02) night lightning strike sparked the original fire. Within hours, it spread to the second facility.

Environmental concerns abound. Specifically, officials are concerned that the dirty water used to fight the fire will run off into the local tributaries and poison wildlife. The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet now has personnel on the scene and is instructing firefighters to let the blaze burn itself out to prevent additional risk.

The last 13 months have been a hard time for rickhouses in Kentucky. In June 2018, a Barton building in Bardstown collapsed. This June, a rickhouse at O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro also collapsed.

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