Kentucky distillery goes up in flames

Lawrenceburg finds itself short 17,000 barrels of bourbon.


J.A. Getzlaff
May 19, 2000 8:00PM (UTC)

How fast does 101-proof bourbon burn? Pretty darn fast,
according to an Associated Press report. Last week in
Lawrenceburg, Ky., a distillery warehouse stocked to the
gills with aging barrels of Wild Turkey went up in flames.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but workers nearby told
Reuters that once the fire started, whiskey barrels could be
heard exploding like gunshots. Within minutes, the
seven-story wooden building went up in flames, taking 17,000
barrels of Kentucky's favorite hooch with it. The oaken
barrels contained young (and very volatile) bourbon that had
been aging for three years, as well as high-priced bourbon that had been aging for 15 years.

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In addition to destroying the warehouse, the burning booze
surged into the town's water supply, forcing schools,
businesses and the water plant to shut down. It never made
it into residents' tap water, but it did flow into the
Kentucky River. Though officials said they
found no dead river creatures, a few drunken-catfish jokes
made the rounds.

City worker Debbie Steele told the Associated Press, "I just
tell them we're having happy hour at the river later. Just
bring their own bucket."


J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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