It has been about a year now since the Barton warehouse collapsed in Kentucky, ultimately dumping thousands of whiskey barrels and spilling the contents of many. One would hope this would have been a one off event but now, in a sort of weirdly eerie anniversary reminder, another warehouse at a different distillery, this time O.Z. Tyler, has partially collapsed as well.
The O.Z. Tyler distillery was originally known as the old Charles Medley distillery, having opened back in 1936. It went through many owners and stages of use afterwards, eventually being purchased by Terressentia, a rapid spirits aging company that embarked upon a $25 million dollar overhaul and refurbishment. This led to the now renamed distillery O.Z. Tyler, an integration of the older ways of making and aging American whiskey alongside newer ones. The grounds include a number of aging warehouses, each with what’s said to be a 20,000 barrel capacity.
The partial collapse of one of O.Z. Tyler’s aging warehouses does not look, at this point, to be quite as catastrophic as what happened at Barton. Here are the details to date from the distillery team there:
Shortly after midnight this morning [Monday], the northwest quadrant of an O.Z. Tyler Distillery barrel storage warehouse, known as Rickhouse H, collapsed.
No employees were in the vicinity and no additional damage occurred to either the distillery or neighboring properties. No one was injured.
Jacob Call, Master Distiller at the distillery, and local authorities immediately arrived on site to assess the situation, including representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency. To date these experts have concluded that no environmental damage has occurred.
19,400 barrels are aging in the warehouse.This quadrant of the warehouse contains approximately 4,500 barrels, with a small fraction that appear to have damage.
A team of structural engineers is on site to assess the structural integrity of the building.In addition, a recovery plan for the affected area and all barrels in the warehouse is underway.
Local media reported that the warehouse collapse here is not the first this distillery has experienced – another one apparently occurred back in 2016 due to a windstorm. That one was empty of whiskey at that point, however.
The extent of the collapse became more apparent as the sun came up yesterday, as you can see below in this short video from another local reporter.
As the sun comes up you can see the full scope of damage here at the OZ Tyler facility pic.twitter.com/amGOVDzn8x
— Jim Stratman (@JimS14News) June 17, 2019
Interestingly, an initial assessment post collapse indicated there was minimal spillage of the whiskey that had been aging. Hopefully the environmental impact of this will be less compared to the Barton warehouse incident. It is also hopeful they can shore up the rest of the warehouse to prevent a complete collapse of the structure.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...