Beer Industry

A hiker in Oahu smells something "horrific" and finds out a stream is spiked with 1.2% alcohol

A man was hiking near a stream in Waipio, Oahu when he came across a "horrific" stench. It smelled like alcohol, but really intense, like "a beer pub that hadn't opened its doors for three or four days," according to local activist Carroll Cox, who came more than a week later to investigate after contacted by the hiker.

Turns out booze of some sort was the culprit contaminating the stream, which contained 1.2% alcohol, thanks to Paradise Beverages, "the state's largest distributors of alcohol and liquor," according to The Washington Post. Paradise owns a warehouse right near the spiked stream.

From The Washington Post:

Cox said he was not surprised by the striking stench near the beverage company in Waipio, which is about 15 miles northwest of Honolulu. He said that kind of thing is "commonplace" in Hawaii — in the past, he's found streams contaminated with paint and cement. …

… Cox and a few colleagues drove northbound on the freeway near Paradise Beverages. They could smell the reek as they looked for the storm drain. They soon found ropes attached to a guard railing, which they used to rappel down. …

Cox filed his complaint on Nov. 8, and the health department notified him the next day that the Hawaii Department of Transportation was inspecting the drain pipe because it is the state agency's property. Later that day, Cox learned that officials determined the dumping was coming from Paradise Beverages, which "was directed to stop the discharge," the email reviewed by The Post said.

Paradise Beverages and the state departments of health and transportation did not immediately respond to The Post's requests for comment early Thursday.

Cox said he is pleased with how quickly the departments responded to his complaint. But he added that he is still cautious knowing that politics tend to "creep into the matter of environmental issues."

Paradise Beverages, meanwhile, says it "still isn't sure what's causing the spill."