Diageo says the mould is naturally occurring

Diageo says the mould is naturally occurring

Diageo is taking “very seriously” an order to control warehouse vapours Kentucky residents blame for a black fungus accumulating on houses.

The company said it will look in to the allegations, but added that the mould near its Bourbon facilities in Louisville is “naturally occurring” and does no harm to health or property. The drinks group could face a fine of up to US$10,000 a day if it does not comply with last Friday's (7 September) order from Louisville's environmental authorities, reports said.

“We are a long-standing member of the community and take these allegations very seriously,” Diageo said in a statement.

“We have requested the incident reports related to the APCD (Air Pollution Control District) notice and will review them closely. As we have stated previously, the appearance of a black substance on some buildings and structures is due to a naturally occurring common mould that is found widely in the environment, including areas not related to whiskey production.”

According to reports, residents in Louisville have filed a class action lawsuit against Diageo and four other Bourbon makers including Brown-Forman and Heaven Hill. They blame the companies for the mould as well as odours from the warehouses. 

In a joint-statement earlier this year, Diageo, Brown-Forman and Heaven Hill, said they will fight the legal action. “The companies involved do not believe that they have caused any harm to the plaintiffs or their property and we will vigorously contest these claims,” it said.

In June, an Edinburgh whisky distillery part-owned by Diageo was closed after an outbreak of Legionnaires disease in the city. The distillery later reopened.