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Beer tank explodes at Otter Creek

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Posted on November 14, 2011 |
By Andrea Suozzo



ottercreek8785.jpg
A PUDDLE OF beer leaked out of Otter Creek Brewery following an explosion in one of the Middlebury facility's fermenting tanks Monday morning. Independent photo/Trent Campbell

Update 11/15/11, 3 p.m.: Vermont Public Radio reports that normal brewing operations resumed at the Middlebury factory on Tuesday afternoon.

A beer tank at Otter Creek Brewing exploded around 10 a.m. on Monday, according to Middlebury fire chief Rick Cole.

No one was hurt in the explosion of what Cole said was a large fermenting tank, but the incident brought emergency personnel rushing to the scene to ensure that the explosion of the pressurized tank did not cause further explosions.

Otter Creek president Brian Walsh said around 11 a.m. that a team from the company was on its way to assess the incident, but that the building was secure.

Cole said the explosion damaged piping and knocked over two or three other tanks, but that there was no fire and the beer that spilled was mostly contained within the building.

The explosion also blew a wall panel off of the side of the building between two outdoor tanks.

Cole said his crew spent a little over an hour on the scene stabilizing tanks and making sure that the scene was safe, and that employees had already re-entered the building by the time he left.

Walsh said he would have no further comment until after the team he was sending had assessed the situation. In a Facebook posting later Monday, however, the company stated that it would resume full operations later in the week, and that it does not anticipate any shortages in beer supply.

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