Early yesterday morning a tanker carrying 7,000 gallons of Canadian whiskey ran off the road and overturned in Scott County, Kentucky. The accident occurred on US Route 460 near the Craig Lane intersection. US-460 was closed for most of the day. Although the tank was damaged and some of the whiskey escaped, it is not yet known how much of it was lost. Fire is the primary danger in an accident of this sort, which is why the road had to be closed.
Craig Lane was named for Rev. Elijah Craig, who founded Georgetown, Kentucky (the county seat of Scott County), and was an early Kentucky distiller.
The shipment was on its way to the Beam Global bottling facility on US-460 at Forks of the Elkhorn, just east of Frankfort. It was destined to become Canadian Club Canadian Blended Whisky.
No other vehicles were involved and Scott County Emergency Management Agency director Jack Donovan told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the truck driver was not hurt, although another media report said he was taken to an area hospital complaining of leg pain. The driver has not been identified.
Why was Canadian whiskey being shipped to Kentucky for bottling? Beam Global owns the Canadian Club brand but not the Canadian distillery where it is made, which is owned by Pernod. The distillery is in Walkerville, Ontario, just across the river from Detroit. The whiskey is distilled and aged there. When it is ready for sale the barrels are dumped and the whiskey is tankered for bulk shipment to the U.S. for bottling.
The tanker would have entered the country at Detroit and come down Interstate 75 to Georgetown, Kentucky, then to US-460.
Beam Global has substantial bottling lines at Forks of the Elkhorn, which is the former Old Grand-Dad distillery, and also at the Jim Beam Distillery at Clermont in Bullitt County, near Shepherdsville. Canadian Club is bottled at both locations.
Much of the Canadian whisky intended for sale in the U.S. is bottled here, frequently by bourbon producers in Kentucky. This is also true of other international spirits such as rum, tequila and scotch. A substantial amount of California brandy is shipped in bulk to Kentucky to be aged (in used bourbon barrels) and bottled.
By consolidating bottling at as few locations as possible, the producer automatically consolidates its finished goods inventories, which makes distribution more efficient.