Distillery scrambles to contain freak molasses spill

15th June, 2017 by Lauren Eads

A rum distillery in Antigua is working to contain a freak molasses spill – the first of its kind in its 85-year history – after a storage tank containing 2,000 tonnes of the thick, sticky substance overflowed.

The tank that overflowed, spilling molasses into the road outside the distillery

The spill was discovered at The Antigua Distillery in the West Indies on Saturday (10 June) as a delivery of molasses was being pumped into a storage tank. According to the distillery, a thick layer of foam had formed on top of the mollases as it was being pumped into the storage tanker, which was found to be leaking through the vents under the roof of the tank, causing the thick substance to spill into the distillery and into the road.

The spill continued for much of Saturday and Sunday as the team worked to stem its flow, with a vacuum truck brought into the remove the thick substance and a water truck to wash the main road of any residual molasses.

The primary concern was that the thick substance could have have reached the coast, spilling into the sea and endangering wildlife. However representatives of Antigua’s Environmental Division have since said they were “satisfied that all efforts were being made to curtail the flow of molasses into the sea and to minimise any effect on marine life.”

The primary concern is currently the pungent odour emitted by the spill, which is expected to be fully contained by this weekend.

Commenting on the “unusual incident”, managing director of The Antigua Distillery, Anthony Bento, said the company took full responsibility for the incident and was currently conducting further investigations into what caused it.

Molasses spills are rare but can be incredibly serious, not only for the environment, but to people close by.

The most famous molasses-related incident is the Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster, which happened on 15 January In 1919 at the Purity Distilling Company in Boston, Massachusetts.

A large molasses storage tank burst spewing forth a wave of molasses through the streets at an estimated 35 mph, killing 21 and injuring 150. Almost a century after the incident, residents still claim that on hot summer days the area still smells of molasses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Sales Support Assistant

H2Vin Ltd
London, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, Surrey

Sales Order Processor

Amathus Drinks
Park Royal, London NW10, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

Events & PR Co-ordinator

Alliance Wine
London, UK

Partner Development Manager - That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company
Field Based, UK

Head of Merchant Sales

Grapevine the Wineservice Company
Cumbria, UK

Business Development Manager – Central London

Marussia Beverages UK Ltd
Field based – London, UK

Account Manager – Premium Restaurants, London

Kingfisher Beer Europe Ltd
London (Central), UK

Field Sales Representative - Beer Innovation

Elastic
Various locations, UK

Events Executive

The Drinks Business
London, UK

Area Sales Executive

Gordon & Macphail
Southern England (excluding London) and Inner London, UK

Buyer – Wine & Spirits

Sipp
London, UK

Spirits Advisor

The Whisky Exchange
London, UK

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Beer Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Click to view more

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Click to view more