The smell of bourbon filled the air as 45,000 barrels were destroyed in a Jim Beam warehouse fire late on Tuesday night.
Firefighters struggled to battle the massive blaze because of alcohol in the debris.
The Kentucky warehouse caught fire at around 11:30pm, with a security guard calling to report the incident. It has since collapsed.
Woodford County Emergency Management chief Drew Chandler said there was lightning in the area on Tuesday night that possibly sparked the flames.
Forty firefighters helped battle the Jim Beam warehouse fire. A second warehouse also caught fire, but the flames were quickly controlled.
Beam Suntory spokesperson Dan Cohen said no one was hurt in the Jim Beam warehouse fire and thanked first responders at the scene.
We have a comprehensive warehouse safety program that includes regular inspections and rigorous protocols to promote safety and the security of our aging inventory,” Cohen said.
“We operate 126 barrel warehouses in Kentucky that hold approximately 3.3 million barrels for our brands, and the warehouse that was destroyed contained 45,000 barrels of relatively young whiskey from the Jim Beam mash bill. Given the age of the lost whiskey, this fire will not impact the availability of Jim Beam for consumers.”
It’s been a tough 12 months for bourbon inventory.
In 2018, about 18,000 barrels of bourbon were lost when a warehouse in Bardstown, Kentucky, collapsed during building work.
Last month, a barrel storage facility at the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro suffered a partial collapse, with a “small fraction” of the 4500 barrels affected suffering damage, according to a statement from the producer.
Jim Beam sold 10 million cases globally in 2018.
Megan Frank, VP of global marketing, told Spirits Business last year: “We’re outpacing Jack Daniel’s in the developed markets.”
For Jim Beam, ‘developed’ means the US, Germany and Australia where “we’re the number-one spirits brand”.