It is normal for fungus to grow on the exterior of the barrel, this type of fungus is commonly known as whiskey fungus (Baudoinia compniacensis) it is a fungus that feeds on lost ethanol vapors that seep from the barrel. Lost ethanol vapors are known as “the angel’s share” since ethanol is denser than air it will tend to stay on the surface of the barrel where the whisky fungus can grow.
Although it is commonly known as whisky or distillery fungus it is also found around brandy distilleries in France, scotch distilleries in Scotland, whisky distilleries in Ireland, vodka distilleries in Eurasia, and spirit distilleries throughout the U.S.
Finding whiskey fungus on your barrel is harmless for humans and animals. Usually, its appearance is a good sign that delicious whisky is nearby!
In Kentucky where 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is made, so much ethanol vapors come out of the distilleries allowing for the black fungus to grow on stop signs, porch furniture, siding, fences, cars, and buildings located miles away from the distilleries.
Picture of whiskey fungus growing on barrels in a cellar.
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