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Two Jim Beam bourbon warehouses in Woodford County catch fire, one completely destroyed

KyForward staff

State and national news organizations are reporting a major fire at two Jim Beam bourbon barrel warehouses on McCracken Pike in Woodford County near the Franklin County line.

Image captured from WKYT video

Officials are reporting that the fire started in one warehouse and spread to the other.

Cause was apparently a lightning strike at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Bluegrass Emergency Response Team from Lexington took foam to the scene.

Reports said about 45,000 barrels of bourbon were destroyed.

Jim Beam released the following statement:

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. Initial reports suggest the fire resulted from a lightning strike, and we will work with local authorities to confirm the cause and to remediate the impacts. 

We have a comprehensive warehouse safety program that includes regular inspections and rigorous protocols to promote safety and the security of our aging inventory. 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.
We appreciate the support of our neighbors and the Kentucky Bourbon community as we manage through this incident.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet issued a warning to recreational users of the Kentucky River on the eve of the Fourth of July Holiday due to the anticipated impact the fire will likely have. Officials warned runoff from the fire could cause discoloration, foaming and odor, and could lead to low oxygen levels causing fish kills and negatively impact other aquatic life.

Recreational activities are not prohibited over the holiday, but those using the river are encouraged to be aware of conditions when using connected waterways.

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