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45,000 Barrels of Jim Beam Went to Bourbon Heaven in Kentucky Warehouse Fire

For anyone who sips, sniffs, and savors bourbons of all ages and classes, a drop wasted is a shame. So, it's hard to comprehend the loss of hundreds of thousands of gallons of perfectly good bourbon in an inferno...

For anyone who sips, sniffs, and savors bourbons of all ages and classes, a drop wasted is a shame. So, it's hard to comprehend the loss of hundreds of thousands of gallons of perfectly good bourbon in an inferno. 

A raging fire at a Jim Beam bourbon-aging warehouse in Kentucky destroyed as many as 45,000 barrels of the delicious brown spirit on Tuesday. According to a report by Bloomberg, that's about 6,750,000 standard-size bottles of the stuff -- all up in smoke. You might say it all became the angels' share. 

The blaze, which left firefighters struggling to contain in part because of the huge amount of alcohol, started around 11:30pm. The massive warehouse, located in Versailles, Kentucky, stretched about the area of a football field and stood several stories high. Local authorities said a lightning strike may be to blame, according to a report by CNN. Thankfully, no injuries have been reported.

Don't worry, the fire won't mess with your ability to get a bottle. A spokesperson for Jim Beam's parent company, Beam Suntory, told Bloomberg, “Given the age of the lost whiskey, this fire will not impact the availability of Jim Beam for consumers.” Despite the bourbon's young age, the destruction will likely set the company back tens of millions, though.

Firefighters purposely allowed the fire to rage on for hours on Wednesday to allow the bourbon in the debris to burn off instead of battling it with water hoses, which would have risked contaminating a nearby drinking water source, per the report. 

The fire comes a little more than a year after about 9,000 barrels of bourbon were destroyed in a warehouse collapse at a Barton 1792 Distillery facility in Bardstown, Kentucky. So, uh, pour one out for the ill-fated bourbon. Or maybe don't, since so much has already gone to waste.


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Tony Merevick is Senior News Editor at Thrillist. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.