Multinational drinks maker Diageo is building its first carbon-neutral distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky in the United States. The $130m distillery, which will produce Bulleit bourbon, is currently under construction and is expected to be fully operational in 2021. It will be one of largest carbon-neutral distilleries in North America.
Reinforcing the beer and spirits producer's global commitment to reducing its carbon emissions and addressing climate change, the site will be powered by 100% renewable electricity, with a capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year.
While it will have the capability to distill a variety of bourbon and American whiskey brands, Bulleit will be the first and lead brand to be produced – supplementing existing production at The Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Employing electrode boilers, the site will use a mix of renewable electricity sources to power a 72,000 square-foot distillery, dry house and warehousing facilities. The new distillery moves the company closer to its goal of sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, Diageo said.
To achieve carbon neutrality at the site, Diageo plans to incorporate a variety of features that will avoid annual carbon emissions by more than 117,000 metric tonnes. This is the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 cars off the road for an entire year.
These features include:
Electrification of operations:
• Electrode boilers will enable the avoidance of direct carbon emissions that would normally be generated by the use of fossil-fuel fired boilers. Electrode boilers also offer benefits that include reduced noise pollution and reduction of other air contaminants.
• All vehicles operated onsite, including trucks and forklifts, will be electric, and charged onsite by renewable energy.
• 100% of the steam used onsite – for the cooking, distillation and drying process – will be generated by the electrode boilers (which are powered by the renewable electricity)
Energy efficiency embedded into facility design:
• Energy efficiency will be optimised in the new electric boilers
• Exterior lighting will be solar powered
• All onsite interior lighting will be light-emitting diode (LED)
• Warehouse interior lighting will only activate during loading or unloading activities
• Lowered roofs will minimise heating and cooling requirements
Sourcing renewable electricity:
• Long-term contracts with the local utility will allow for the purchase of zero greenhouse gas emission electricity from certified renewable sources
• Renewable electricity will be supplied by Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC)
Water savings design
• Site is being designed to be industry-leading in efficiency and minimisation of water usage
Zero waste to landfill
• Once operational, the site is designed to minimise use of materials and waste through reuse and recycling, and any residual waste will not be sent to landfill
“As a company we know that our long-term sustainable growth depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change,” said Perry Jones, president, North America supply for Diageo.
“This groundbreaking undertaking to electrify our operations and then power them with renewable electricity will result in one of the largest carbon-neutral distilleries in North America. This is a significant step to strengthen our commitment to minimising our carbon emissions and will result in an important reduction of Diageo’s environmental impact on a global level.”