In Lincoln County, Tennessee, residents face a unique problem, a “fungus whiskey” is taking over the town. It is alleged that the fungus originates from Jack Daniel’s barrel houses, covering the surrounding communities’ buildings, roads, trees, and more.
Residents in Lincoln County describe a “sooty black mold” that “smothers homes, porches, and cars.” It has been sticking to any stationary object, where pictures taken from the county show obscured street signs covered in black residue and trees with it embedded in their bark. Citizens are also beginning to question the air quality and whether it is safe to breathe it in. Insider reported:
Locals in Lincoln County, Tennessee, say an out-of-control black “whiskey fungus” known as Baudoinia compniacensis, fueled by ethanol vapor from the Jack Daniel’s facilities, has been a menace since the famous liquor company started building six barrel houses in 2018 and launched plans to build 14 more. Now infuriated residents are demanding the company and the county answer for the damage and sinking property values and prove the ethanol-filled air is safe to breathe.
Some residents are taking legal action against Jack Daniels. A Lincoln County judge is expected to rule on a lawsuit filed by a couple who allege Jack Daniels has created the uncontrollable fungus. Patrick Long and his wife Christi claim that Lincoln County officials allowed Brown-Forman Corporation to build additional barrel houses without a necessary environmental study or building permits. “We would end up with 20 barrel houses in Lincoln County in about a half a mile radius,” said Long. “They did not go through the building and planning cycle and they never submitted to a site plan, and they never provided the building plans.”
“At this point and time, they are building illegally in Lincoln County,” explained Christi Long. “At this time, we are asking the judge to force the county to issue a stop work order to stop construction at Jack Daniels.” She continued,“Here we are as District 6 spending our own personal dollars to stop a big corporation holding Lincoln County accountable.”
Late last year, the couple alongside hundreds of other locals from Lincoln County and surrounding areas petitioned the Lincoln County Commission for answers on the fungus and the proposition to build more warehouses. “Give us some filtration,” said Patrick Long. “They use it in California on distilleries all the time. E.J. Gallo, the winemaker, has used it for almost a decade.”
Executives with Jack Daniels pushed back, claiming the fungus is not caused by the evaporated ethanol. They also were adamant that the vapor does not cause physical harm. “They are well below the OSHA permissible exposure limits and when we monitor air quality exterior, we’re detecting no ethanol vapors,” said Melvin Keebler, the company’s vice president. However, another resident was still angered about how the mold has impacted their lives. “When I moved here 30 years ago, I washed my house once a year,” Gary Willer said. “Now I wash my house four to five times a year. I washed it two months ago, and it needs it again. I can’t live like this anymore.”
"*" indicates required fields