Union workers at two Jim Beam distilleries in Kentucky have gone on strike.
At distilleries in Clermont and Boston, 200-plus employees walked out of their jobs and began picketing.
Multiple news agencies have reported that the strike followed union workers rejecting a new contract offer from Jim Beam last Friday. Employees have complained that they must work 60 to 80 hours per week to keep up with the current booming demand for Jim Beam whiskey. Staffing shortages have also reportedly led to the overtime issues.
Jim Beam, the global leader in bourbon production, has announced that contingency plans will continue operations at current levels. The company does not expect any imminent slip in product quantity shipped to distributors and retailers. These contingency plans have included hiring new temporary employees.
The strike could affect short-term production like bottling, emptying old barrels, and filling new barrels with whiskey.
Last year, Kentucky’s whiskey industry hit a 50 year high in terms of production.
The company says that it hopes the striking staff will reconsider the contract offer, which includes increased wages, and, according to the company, addresses issues like overtime and temporary employees.
The rejection on Friday was the second time last week the union workers voted against a new contract offered by Jim Beam.
Jim Beam is owned by the Japanese beverage company, Suntory Holdings Ltd., and together they comprise Beam Suntory.