The Illegal Vodka Pipeline You Never Knew Existed

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=pipeline&search_group=#id=115685029&src=qi9mB5-NNjh34LXW-63Dyg-1-7">Oleinik Dmitri</a>/Shutterstock; <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-42022465/stock-photo-old-barrels-isolated-on-white-background.html?src=dt_p-88626481-2">JirkaBursik </a>/Shutterstock

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


On Monday, a pipeline transporting molasses from a storage tank to a ship burst, spilling 233,000 gallons of sugary syrup into Honolulu Harbor. The disaster has devastated marine life and sent local agencies scrambling to clean up. But there was another obvious takeaway: Really, molasses moves in pipelines?

Yes, and it’s not alone.

 

Molasses

BW Folsom /Shutterstock

Length: Unknown

Where: Honolulu

Used by: Shipping company Matson Navigation

Status: Still active.

 

Vodka

kaband/Shutterstock

Length: .3 miles

Where:  Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan

Used by: Smugglers

Status: Shut down by Kyrgyz customs officials in August.

 

Vodka

Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock; Aaron Amat/Shutterstock

Length: 1 mile

Where: Russia to Estonia

Used by: Smugglers

Status: Shut down by customs officials in 2008.

 

Moonshine

Everett Collection/Shutterstock

Length: 2 miles

Where: Belarus to Lithuania

Used by: Smugglers

Status: Shut down by customs officials in 2004.

 

Fried chicken

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Length: 650 feet

Where: Egypt to Gaza City

Used by: Smugglers, charging $27 for a 12-piece bucket of KFC.

Status: Still open. Maybe.

(Ed: This is more of a pipeline in a metaphorical sense, but it does pass through a tunnel.)

 

Beer

Darren J. Bradley/Shutterstock; Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock

Length: 3.1 miles

Where: Gelensekirchen, Germany

Used by: Veltins Arena, home of the soccer club Schalke 04

Status: Still active.

 

Whiskey

Tim Stirling/Shutterstock

Length: Unknown

Where: Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Used by: Canadian Club founder Hiram Walker, to transport mash from his distiller to his farm.

Status: No longer active.

 

Orange juice

Sfocato/Shutterstock

Length: 1.2 miles

Where: Brazil

Used by: Cutrale, a Coca Cola subsidiary, to transfer fresh-squeezed juice from storage silos to pasteurization facility.

Status: Still open.

 

Grain

David Rose/Shutterstock

Length: TBD

Where: Montana to Minneapolis; Portland; or Lewiston, Idaho

Used by: Proposed by Montana legislature in the 1970s in response to rising freight transportation costs.

Status: Never built.

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate