As you drive along Main Street in Greendale, Indiana, it’s hard to miss the street signs and houses that appear as if they are covered with black shellac.
Richard Stinchcomb, a resident of Greendale, said that there’s a serious problem with black mold in his house. “Where I live upstairs in the back, it’s all black,” he said.
Stinchcomb lives within close proximity to a large distillery that is owned by a company called MGPI.
“That house over there, it’s all, you know, they got to clean it every year,” he said.
Stinchcomb showed reporters from a local news station the stained walls in his home. The walls are covered with mold, which has developed as a result of the process that is used to age whiskey inside the barrel house of the distillery.
As ethanol in the wood barrels that hold the whiskey evaporate, black fungus grows in the surrounding area. The fungus is airborne and it spreads.
According to Jacob Shepherd, another Greendale resident, “It just goes airborne. It creates all this black mold on these houses.”
In Greendale, stain-covered houses aren’t new. Seagram’s, the company that previously owned the distillery, was operational for years; but, many of the residents of the small Indiana town claim that so-called ‘whiskey mold’ is worse now than it has ever been before.
“It’s gotten worse”, said Shepherd. “They have storage right there, right behind you, full of whiskey barrels.”
It appears that even more barrels will be arriving at a facility in Sunman, which MGPI, the company that owns the distillery, intends on using as additional storage space. The stains that coat the cars, walls, and street signs in Greendale, as well as parts of Lawrenceburg, have sparked an outcry in Sunman, which is about 30 minutes north of the area. The problem was a primary focus at a town council meeting in Sunman.
“Even in Kentucky, that’s famous for this, they have lawsuits going on,” resident Carla Hacker said. “So there must be a problem.”
Hacker, who lives in Sunman, said that she and her neighbors are concerned that they will experience health problems as a result of being exposed to the fungus. They’re also concerned that the value of their homes will decrease.
Hacker said, “The property values have already dropped. As soon as that word came out, as soon as that word came out. And that’s the sad thing.”
A spokesperson for MGPI said that the company strives to be a good neighbor and will do the same in Sunman, where their new storage facility will be located.
A public meeting to discuss an air quality permit will be held by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Mold Inspection & Testing Indianapolis has years of experience performing mold assessments throughout the state of Indiana. We strongly urge property owners who live in the areas affected by ‘whiskey’ mold to arrange to have mold testing performed to ensure their safety. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 317.759.8525.