Whiskey fungus infests town — Jack Daniel’s plants targeted in lawsuit


Tennessee residents living near Jack Daniels distilleries are trying to prevent the company from building more facilities as a whiskey mold overtakes surrounding towns.

The fungus, Baudoinia compniacensis, grows on liquor that evaporates during the aging process, known as “the angels’ share.”

It seems to stick to almost anything, including houses, cars, road signs, trees, and patio furniture.

The ancient black, gooey substance is nothing new to those who live around bourbon, rum and whiskey makers.

But Jack Daniel’s, owned by Brown-Formannow has six warehouses – called barrelhouses – in Tennessee’s Lincoln County and plans to build more than a dozen in the future.

A stop sign at a Jim Beam manufacturing and bottling plant in Frankfort, Kentucky, is covered in the fungus, called Baudoinia compniacensis, in a 2014 photo.
AFP via Getty Images

a Tennessee woman charged her local zoning plan in January, seeking to prevent the construction of an additional 14 distilleries unless ventilation systems are installed, claiming the hard-to-remove mold has damaged her nearby properties, including a party and wedding venue.

On March 1, the court ordered Jack Daniel’s time the construction stops.

Residents of Kentucky and even Ontario, Canada, have had to deal with similar molds that they worry pose harmful health and environmental risks.

Whiskey mold fueled by Jack Daniels is plaguing the town
The fungus grows on alcohol vapor that comes from aged barrels.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

A spokesperson for Jack Daniel’s issued a lengthy statement to The Post, saying:

“During the placement and construction process, we worked closely with Lincoln County, providing all information requested by local officials, and adhering to the regulatory requirements, strict industry guidelines, and rigorous internal standards we follow when building warehouses .

“Anyone who has visited the Jack Daniel Distillery or any other distillery with maturing spirits has probably noticed the presence of microflora.

“Microflora grows on trees, buildings and other structures around distilleries and warehouses.

“Ethanol released from barrels during maturation, also called “the angel part”, is just one of the many food sources of the microflora.

“It is more common in hot and humid environments and is also found in and around areas unrelated to distillation, such as food processing plants and bakeries, and dams next to bodies of water,” the company continued.

“While we are used to microflora, we understand that some may not like the look and discomfort it can bring.

“Based on the available information, we believe it is not harmful to any person or their property.”

Whiskey mold grows on a plate in Lawrenceburg near the Wild Turkey Distillery and bourbon warehouses.
Whiskey mold grows on a plate in Lawrenceburg near the Wild Turkey Distillery and bourbon warehouses.

Jack Daniel’s statement also addressed the feasibility of adjusting the ventilation.

“As for the air filtration technology that has been suggested as a solution by some, that’s easy to say, but not possible.

“Barrelhouses need ventilation – and are designed to do so naturally – to allow the movement of whiskey in and out of new charred oak casks during the maturation process.

“Existing independent and government research indicates that there is no reasonably available control technology to prevent ethanol emissions without significantly adversely affecting the taste and quality of Jack Daniel’s or other aged whiskeys,” the statement concluded.

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