OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — A portion of a bourbon storage rickhouse collapsed just after midnight Monday at O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro.
Master Distiller Jacob Call says around 4,500 barrels have fallen out of the building near where a corner of a building collapsed on the distillery’s property.
Deputies from the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office said both barrels of bourbon as well as building materials were sent close to sections of Ewing Road.
Call told Eyewitness News that the rickhouse holds 20,000 barrels total.
It appears that no one was injured during the partial collapse.
Call said it may take at least a month to clean up debris, stabilize the building, and remove the barrels.
“I expect it will stay pretty stable at the moment. We’re going to go ahead and put in some earthen dams probably just in case something happens, we got some containment. No matter what we do, we’ll be as safe as we can.”
It is unknown what caused the collapse, but storms did bring heavy rain through the Owensboro area hours before the incident.
Due to the unstable building sections still standing and debris in the roadway, Ewing Road has been closed from West 2nd Street to Yellowstone Drive, until further notice.
O.Z. Tyler Distillery began operating in Owensboro in 2016. The facility known by many as the Medley Family Distillery was purchased by O.Z. Tyler’s parent company Terresentia in 2014.
“Well, I got up to get a drink out of my kitchen window, I’d seen all these lights flashing. So, I went back and got my grandson to come out, so I can check it out,” said Joyce Plank, who lives across the street from the distillery’s damaged rickhouse.
“I’d seen a cop. He said, ‘The storm had hit the building again.’ I said, ‘Not again,'” she recalled. “I went down the alley way, and sure thing, there it was.”
The rising sun revealed the extent of the damage.
“It’s disheartening to say the least,” said Call. He described the barrels as resilient.
Call also says this isn’t the first time this warehouse was damaged. No others had visible damage as of this morning.
“Back when Hurricane Ike came through in 2008, the whole roof came off this warehouse,” he said.
“When the storm came through before and took the roof off, I heard that one,” added Plank, recalling the memories of that storm.
Call says they don’t know yet how this collapsed, but that it could take more than a month to remove the barrels and other debris. He also says they don’t know yet what the value is of the impacted products in the barrels that spilled out.
(This story was originally published on June 17, 2019)