Let's just get this out of the way up front: On the spectrum of American tragedies, a casualty-less fire burning up a bourbon warehouse doesn't even rank. We have way more messed up fish to fry in this country right now than a couple of 86'd barrels of whiskey. BUT still, if you're a whiskey lover, the last thing you want to see on the day before the Fourth of July is news that on Tuesday night a massive fire tore through two Jim Beam rackhouses, sending an estimated 45,000 barrels of precious Kentucky bourbon quite literally up in flames. Needless to say, the flags are raised at half mast in our hearts this morning.
According to authorities, a Jim Beam warehouse used for aging bourbon caught fire around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in Woodford County. Flames quickly spread to a second nearby structure, and by early Wednesday, with crews still battling the flames, both were entirely engulfed. A cause of the fire is still unclear, but officials say a lightning strike might have sparked the blaze. Thankfully no injuries have been reported, but there's still plenty of cause for mourning in Kentucky this morning, where bourbon is not just booze, but a lifeblood.
Ordinarily with the holiday weekend upon us, we'd tell you to pour a little out for the good folks down at Beam, but in this case, perhaps you should save those drops. Rumblings of a bourbon shortage have been growing for years now, and with Beam also distilling and aging Booker's, Baker's, Basil Hayden, and plenty more, this certainly isn't going to help. Don't worry too much, though. Drinking it is still strongly encouraged.