Jack Daniel’s Barrel House is causing uncontrollable black ‘whiskey fungus’ in Tennessee community, furious residents say

Black Fungus Lincoln County, Tennessee

Soot-like black fungus covers outdoor surfaces near Jack Daniel’s Barrel House in Lincoln County, Tennessee.Courtesy of Patrick Long

  • Lincoln County residents are fed up with black mold covering their homes and cars.

  • The stubborn “whiskey fungus” feeds on the ethanol vapors from Jack Daniel’s Barrel House.

  • Locals are demanding an air filtration system and an environmental impact study.

Sooty black mold suffocates homes, porches and cars, according to locals. It obscures road signs and covers the leaves and bark of trees. It clings to stationary objects, making residents question the safety of the air they breathe.

Known as the out-of-control black “whiskey fungus” Baudinia compniasensisIn Lincoln County, Tennessee, a renowned liquor company has been fueling ethanol vapors from Jack Daniel’s facilities since 2018, when it began construction on six new barrel houses and plans to build 14 more. Furious residents are now demanding answers from the company and county for damages and sinking property values, and to prove that the ethanol-filled air is safe to breathe. increase.

Patrick Long, who lives right next door to the Jack Daniels Barrel House and whose wife Christy filed a lawsuit against Lincoln County, told Insider the community has two main demands. Environmental impact studies assessing fungal growth and the amount of ethanol released from barrel houses and the health risks it poses.

“I am very worried. My wife has trouble breathing. One of my neighbors has cancer,” Long said. “It’s in the air, and you really, probably don’t want to inhale it. But no one has done any testing to determine if it’s actually toxic.”

According to Long, the existing six barrel houses will have to spend about $10,000 a year to intensively clean their homes using a powerful mixture of water and Clorox. He also said that local officials have given up on cleaning fungus-coated street signs and simply replace them if they become too black and illegible.

“If you have decent nails and you go down the side of a tree or property within a quarter mile to half a mile of these barrel houses, your whole finger will be covered in black fungus,” Long said. . . “I can’t see the tree branches anymore. My house now has to be pressure washed four times a year.”

He said he had alerted Federal Environmental Protection Agency officials, but declined an insider’s request for comment on “potential or ongoing enforcement activities or investigations.”

Christy Long’s recent lawsuit against the Lincoln County Planning and Zoning Commission has led to the construction at Jack Daniel’s, alleging that the company illegally constructed the facility and lacked proper site plan approvals and building permits. require the county to issue a work stoppage order to stop the

Lincoln County did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. However, at a public hearing at the end of last year, moore county news, Jack Daniel’s official Melvin Keibler expressed sympathy for one resident who complained about stage 4 lung cancer and requested an air filtration system. Keibler said the company already monitors air quality and says its existing air filtration technology is for wineries, not whiskey and bourbon facilities.

A Jack Daniel’s spokesperson told Insider that the company could not comment on the pending lawsuit, but said Jack Daniel’s “complied with all local, state and federal regulations regarding the design, construction and permitting of Barrel House. there is,” he said. Safety and health of employees and neighbors. “

Whiskey’s ‘angel’s share’ feeds fungi

black fungus jack daniels

Residents of Lincoln County, Tennessee, are complaining of destroyed homes and declining property values.Courtesy of Patrick Long

of black gunk Extending about a mile from Jack Daniel’s Barrel House is known as Baudinia compniasensis, a naturally occurring fungus that grows on outdoor surfaces exposed to ethanol vapors. Barrel houses, like Jack Daniel’s facilities, can accommodate tens of thousands of barrels of aged whiskey, so that some of the alcohol evaporates into the air through the pores of the wooden barrels. Whiskey makers call this the “angel’s share” of their product. .

The fungus was first identified in 2007 by researchers who discovered that the “angel’s share” of spirits was responsible for the black stickiness.

Kentucky homeowners filed a class action lawsuit against several Louisville distilleries in 2012, but ultimately lost. Rejected. Residents of Ontario, Canada, are aware of the ongoing class action lawsuit To the owners of Hiram Walker Distillery on Lakeshore.

Long said when he and his wife first moved to their Lynchburg property in 2020, they were aware of the fungus and thought it was minimal. But at the time, Jack Daniels only had two barrels of his house in the area. He currently has six people in the company and is on track to have 20.

Lawyer Jason Holman, who represents the Longs, told an insider that a judge is expected to make a decision in the next few days on whether to force the county to issue a work stoppage order at the new facility. .

“When we started looking into this, it looked like they didn’t have site plan approval or building permits for the structure.”

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