What is Whiskey Fungus?

Whiskey fungus, also known as Baudoinia compniacensis, is a black, sooty fungus that grows in the vicinity of bakeries and distilleries around the globe. This fungus thrives on the alcoholic vapours that evaporate from whiskey casks during maturation. Usually, a small portion (up to 2%/ year) of the spirit evaporates into the atmosphere and this is called the ‘angel’s share’. It is on this angel’s share that these fungi thrive. It tends to cover outdoor surfaces, including cars, homes, and trees, which can adversely affect the value of properties. Although research has not shown any health risks from exposure to the fungus, it can damage trees and properties. Cleaning the fungus from affected surfaces can be a difficult and costly task as they form thick coatings.

What is Whiskey Fungus?

It is black in colour. The fungus is common in tree barks and leaves. It does not harm plants and usually develops on new leaves. It is common in distilleries and spirit maturation facilities. The fungus is a sac fungus. The sac is the reproductive feature of the fungus.

What is the connection between Whiskey Fungus and alcohol?

The fungus gains its carbon nutrition from ethanol. The ethanol accelerates the growth of the fungus. Also, it stimulates its spore germination. The ethanol also helps the fungus to stay protected from high heat. The fungus creates a thick wall using ethanol vapour. The wall protects the fungus from extreme heat.

Why is Whiskey Fungus in news?

A local court in Lincoln County in Tennessee stopped the construction of a new barrel warehouse for Jack Daniel’s – the biggest-selling brand of American whiskey in the world. This order came after a resident sued the company due to the uncontrollable spread of the whiskey fungus. Lincoln county is located in the North Carolina of US.



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