If you’re watching “The Last of Us,” whisky fungus sounds like something Joel and Ellie should avoid, but it’s a reality for anyone living near a distillery.
Jack Daniel’s says 14 barrelhouses in Moore County, Tennessee — where it currently has six — would generate $1m in annual property tax revenue, per The New York Times.
Residents there and in neighboring Lincoln County claim the operation is coating everything in fungus.
What is it?
Baudoinia compniacensis, a black fungus AKA whiskey or rum fungus.
Mycologist James Scott, PhD, found that the fungus feeds on ethanol, which evaporates and spreads from wooden casks as alcohol ages.
What’s the problem?
It covers everything and always returns.
Christi Long, who owns a nearby event venue, spends ~$10k on power-washing annually. She’s suing the county’s zoning office, Jack Daniel’s parent company, alleging that its barrelhouses lack proper permits.
A judge found that was true of a new barrelhouse and ordered construction to cease, but Long’s lawyer wants Jack Daniel’s to stop using all nearby barrelhouses.
Also, while no link has been established between the fungus and bad health, residents want an air filtration system and environmental impact report.
FWIW, a similar lawsuit was dismissed in Kentucky and another is pending in Canada.
What’s JD say?
Jack Daniel’s doesn’t want to install air filters because it could interfere with its whiskey’s taste, and seems to think power-washing everything every few months is fine — but JD won’t do it, lest it be held liable for any damage to homes or buildings.
Scott told the NYT that the fungus will continue to wreck patio furniture, trees and siding until the alcohol supply is turned off.
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