Distillery Fire Victim Dies; Family Says Rogers is “free” of Pain


May 12, 2015

Silver Trail Distillery fire victim Kyle Rogers passed away yesterday at 5 p.m. at the Vanderbilt Hospital.

The news was first reported by WPSD in Paducah, Ky.

According to the Kentucky Distillers Association, visitation will be Thursday, May 14, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. CST at the J.H. Churchill Funeral Home in Murray. Services will be Friday at 11 a.m. CSTat the funeral home. Expressions of sympathy can be made to the Kyle D. Rogers Scholarship Fund, Calloway County Board of Education, 2110 College Farm Road, Murray, Ky., 42071.

Rhonda, Don and Allison Rogers issued the following statement through the KDA: “We are deeply saddened to report that our son, Kyle, passed away last evening. And yet, we take solace in the fact that he is in God’s comforting hands and is being greeted by cherished loved ones. We know Kyle is at peace and free of the pain from the last two weeks. We cannot begin to express our thanks for the wonderful and caring medical team at Vanderbilt Hospital and the tremendous outpouring of support from friends and loved ones, especially the family of Jay Rogers who have stood by our side and shared in our prayers. We also would like to thank Spencer Balentine and all of Kyle’s colleagues at Silver Trail Distillery. Kyle took so much pride in being a moonshiner, and we are grateful that he was able to work in a profession that he loved so much. It is now our turn to pray for all those who knew and loved Kyle, and to show our thanks through God that we were blessed to call him son, brother and friend for 27 years. He will be with us always.”

The April 24 fire injured the Rogers cousins, who worked at the Hardin, Ky., Silver Trail Distillery. They suffered liquid burns and were launched through an open door.

After news hit about the fire, the distillery community all chipped in to help where they could, offering to raise money and takeover production. The KDA started a “Lifting Spirits” fund, while Copper & Kings and MB Roland both have events planned. I’m in the process of setting a book signing with other bourbon authors at the Louisville store Wesport Whiskey & Wine.

Admittedly, with the passing of Kyle, fundraising takes a whole new level. And while I strive to be objective in my writing, I’m going to do everything within my power to raise money for the Rogers family.

I am just picturing the time I met Kyle, his warm smile, a Kentucky swagger and a firm hand shaking my right hand and putting his moonshine in the left. We lost a good one, an up-and-comer with unlimited potential.

In the coming months, people will use his name in reference to distillery safety, and they’ll say: “be safe, look at what happened here.” The Silver Trail Distillery tragedy will be used in the larger home distillation narrative and the craft distilling conversation when lawmakers discuss new regulations.

This has already started to happen in the distillery community, and I hate that. Why do people want to immediately place blame?

I’ve seen and experienced many tragedies in my life, and there’s always a question of “what if?” This question plagues veterans and car wreck survivors, and it can cripple your soul.

Today, we don’t know the absolute facts of what happened, and we may never know.

The loss of Kyle is a tragedy–that’s the only fact I’m concerned about right now. His precious life lost.