In case you thought the Australian miners that got canned for their Harlem Shake video were this week’s best “How I got fired” story, don’t forget about the unlucky guys working the night shift last Tuesday at Chivas Brothers’ Kilmalid plant.
Apparently, workers that evening were cleaning and spraying down equipment. But, as the waste water built up, someone reached for the wrong lever and instead of dumping the runoff into the sewers, they ejected thousands of gallons of bulk whiskey down the drain.
The Chivas Brothers facility outside of Dumbarton is a bottling site for many of parent company/mega-distiller Pernod Ricard’s brands, including Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Beefeater Gin, and Malibu Rum. It is unclear just which brand wound up getting flushed, as the bulk whisky could have been destined for any of CB’s blended scotches.
Though it took Chivas until nearly 11 a.m. the following morning to realize what had happened, local sewage crews had already noticed something was up – either a few hundred thousand Scots had simultaneously hopped onto the wagon, or someone was missing a whole lot of booze. The smell of whisky mixed with sewer water was so strong that workers had already begun investigating the occurrence.
Estimates vary on the severity of the spill, with initial speculation as high as 18,000 liters (which converts to 4755 gallons, though some U.S. publications reported it as 6K gallons) and the most conservative being just shy of 4,000. That is between $500,000 to $750,000 worth of scotch.
Though no firings have been reported yet, something tells me that the folks responsible may have a few sorrows of their own to drown pretty soon.
– By Jon Watson, Food & More blog