Surprising finds from a fire

11 August 1901. The firemen of Pontarlier were busy celebrating the festival of their patron saint, Laurent. After the procession and speeches, the banquet was about to take place but the fire at the Pernod distillery interrupted the festivities. A short-circuit and Pontarlier's largest distillery was suddenly ablaze. The vats of alcohol were like lethal time bombs and could explode with devastating consequences at any moment. It would, of course, be a catastrophe for the town. A decision was therefore taken to empty the contents of the vats. And so the absinthe flowed freely... into the waters of the Doubs river where bystanders and firefighters apparently quenched their thirst with great gusto!

The accident was also an opportunity to prove that the river Loue was indeed a tributary of the Doubs: a few days after the fire, the waters of the Loue were found to be carrying absinthe.