Thursday, March 2, 2023

Whiskey Tango F...WTF! Whiskey fungus?

Michael Levenson, Whiskey Fungus Fed by Jack Daniel’s Encrusts a Tennessee Town, NYTimes. Mar. 1, 2023.

The ethanol-fueled fungus known as whiskey fungus has thrived for centuries around distilleries and bakeries. It’s been the source of complaints from residents who live near Kentucky bourbon distilleries, Canadian whiskey makers and Caribbean rum manufacturers.

Now, it is driving a wedge between some residents of Lincoln County, Tenn., and Jack Daniel’s, the famed distillery founded in 1866 in neighboring Moore County.

For months, some residents have complained that a sooty, dark crust has blanketed homes, cars, road signs, bird feeders, patio furniture and trees as the fungus has spread uncontrollably, fed by alcohol vapors wafting from charred oak barrels of aging Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

Jack Daniel’s has built six warehouses, known as barrelhouses, to age whiskey in the rural county, which is home to about 35,000 residents, and is building a seventh on a property that has room to house one more, a company spokesman said. The distillery has asked the county to rezone a second property where it could build six additional barrelhouses.

Christi Long owns a mansion that she operates as an event venue. Is suing the county to prevent more barrelhouses.

Ms. Long and her husband, Patrick Long, said that whiskey fungus had already inundated the property, darkening the copper roof and exterior walls, creeping over the rock garden and metal gate and encrusting the branches of magnolia trees. Nearby, it blackens metal road signs, they said.

The Longs said they use a high-pressure hose to wash the property every three months with Clorox bleach and water, but the fungus always returns.

“If you take your fingernail and run your fingernail down our tree branch, it will just coat the tip of your finger,” Mr. Long said. “It’s just disgusting.”

Ms. Long said her corner of Lincoln County “is going to be black as coal” unless Jack Daniel’s installs air filters in the barrelhouses, one of which sits about 250 yards from her property.

“This fungus now is on steroids,” she said.

Cut off its supply:

“The fungus is pretty destructive, and the only way to stop it is to turn off its alcohol supply,” Dr. Scott wrote in an email. “It wrecks patio furniture, house siding, almost any outdoor surface. I’ve seen trees choked to death by it. It is a small mercy that it does not also appear to have a negative impact on human health.”

There's more at the link.

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