BARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY — Following the most recent disaster at the distillery this week, Barton 1792 staff returning to work Friday were surprised to find they are now required to wear protective “Bubble Boy” suits on distillery property, a radical change that Barton spokesman Roy Stevens says will protect employees from crumbling distillery infrastructure.
“Having a structural engineering firm come in and evaluate the state of our buildings and equipment would be incredibly costly to Sazerac’s bottom line. At the same time, we need to prevent workplace injuries so we don’t get sued and forced to settle, also eating into our profits.” Stevens said. “We brainstormed a solution and feel we can pass the burden of the problem onto the employees by requiring them to wear these protective suits.”
Barton Distillery has dealt with a host of problems regarding their aging infrastructure in recent months. In June, a rickhouse partially collapsed, sending about 18,000 bourbon barrels tumbling to the ground. This most recent incident occurred Tuesday when a leg attached to a 55,000 gallon fermenter tank gave way, causing it to overturn and puncture adjacent tanks, leading to a 120,000 gallon spill that injured two employees.
The new Bubble Boy suits will feature a sealed and sterilized dome that surrounds each employee while only moderately reducing their mobility. The suits come complete with a ventilation system and sewn-in arm sleeves so they may continue to use their hands when necessary. When fully inflated, the suits expand to eight feet in diameter and weigh about 50 pounds. It is unclear how employees will navigate distillery buildings in the suits, given that the standard doorway width is about 32 inches.
In related news, the distillery has also had to hire local security firm Bradley Security, LLC., to guard the accident sites after Goodwood Brewing employees converged on the distillery in droves hoping to salvage the damaged Barton product for their own marketing schemes.