Jack Daniel’s ‘Whiskey Fungus’ Takes Over Tennessee Town

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Brent Foster Contributor
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A “whiskey fungus” emanating from an assortment of Jack Daniel’s barrel houses is impacting residents in Tennessee’s Lincoln County, according to Insider.

The fungus, scientifically known as Baudoinia compniacensis, takes the form of a black mold blanketing the surrounding community from roads to homes and trees, according to Insider. Ethanol vapor emitted through the wooden barrels, inside the barrel houses, as the whiskey matures is thought to generate the fungus.

Jack Daniel’s operates six barrel houses in the community with plans to build another 14, Insider reported. Patrick Long, who lives close to the barrel houses, said that the fungus requires him to have his house “pressure washed four times a year now.”

Long and his wife Christi filed a lawsuit against officials in Lincoln County, alleging that they allowed the construction of additional barrel houses without the appropriate environmental and building permits, according to WHNT.

“I’m extremely concerned. My wife has breathing problems. One of our neighbors got cancer,” Long told Insider. He maintains that no tests have been conducted to determine if the fungus is “actually poisonous.” (RELATED: Study Says No Amount Of Alcohol Is Safe, Always Causes Brain Damage)

At a 2022 Lincoln County Commission meeting, resident Becky Benson Carroll said she was suffering from stage 4 lung cancer and that she could not “prove it was from this ethanol” but maintained that “somebody needs to prove that it is not,” according to the Moore County News. Melvin Keebler, a Jack Daniel’s official, told Carroll she has the “sympathy and empathy” of the company and that “air quality inside the warehouses is monitored continuously.”

Among the principal demands by Long and his wife in their lawsuit is the addition of an air filtration system with the ability to curtail ethanol emissions and stymie the development of the fungus, according to Insider. Long told the outlet that he also contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

A Jack Daniel’s spokesperson told Insider without commenting on any litigation that the company “complies with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding the design, construction, and permitting of our barrel houses” before emphasizing a dedication “to protecting the environment and the safety and health of our employees and neighbors.”