Kentuckians Take Distilleries to Court Over Black Gunk

on 31/08/12 at 8:32 am

Spirits

The sooty-looking black gunk has been here for as long as anyone can remember, creeping on the outside of homes, spreading over porch furniture, blanketing car roofs, mysterious and ever-present.

It was pollution, residents speculated, or maybe something to do with the industrial riverfront. But it turns out the most likely culprit is Kentucky’s signature product, its liquid pride: whiskey, as in bourbon whiskey, distilled and bottled across the city and nearby countryside.

In 2007, researchers published a scientific study about Baudoinia, a newly identified type of fungus. Naturally occurring, Baudoinia germinates on ethanol, the colorless alcohol that can evaporate during fermentation, making the area around whiskey-aging warehouses a prime breeding ground.

News of this whiskey fungus soon rippled across spirit-producing communities from Cognac to Canada — a mystery solved, and an opportunity found.

FULL STORY via NY Times