Diageo announces plans for Bulleit carbon neutral distillery

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:Diageo/PrecisionBoilers
Pic:Diageo/PrecisionBoilers

Related tags: Diageo

Diageo has announced that its new Kentucky whiskey distillery – which will start distilling Bulleit next year – is expected to be ‘one of the largest carbon neutral distilleries in North America’.

The site will be powered by 100% renewable electricity, with a capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year. 

Diageo says the new distillery, which is currently under construction in Lebanon, Kentucky, reflects its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions and sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Global growth for Bulleit

Diageo says Bulleit continues to enjoy a ‘strong trajectory of growth’, with global volume up more than 6% year over year. Construction of the $130m distillery started in July 2019, and the site is expected to be fully operational in 2021.

Once fully operational, the facility will employ 30 full-time members. This facility will supplement the company’s other Kentucky operations: Stitzel-Weller in Louisville, and The Bulleit Distilling Company and Visitor Experience in Shelbyville.

Achieving carbon neutrality

Employing electrode boilers, the new Kentucky site will use a mix of renewable electricity sources to power a 72,000 square-foot distillery, dry house, and warehousing facilities.

“The Diageo Lebanon Distillery” will have the capability to distill a variety of bourbon and American whiskey brands. Bulleit will be the first and lead brand produced at the new distillery – supplementing existing production in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Perry Jones, President, North America Supply for Diageo, said: “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 minimizing our carbon emissions and will result in an important reduction of Diageo’s environmental impact on a global level.”

To achieve carbon neutrality at the site, Diageo will incorporate a number of features to avoid annual carbon emissions by more than 117,000 metric tons - the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 cars off the road for a year.

How the distillery will achieve carbon neutrality

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. These also offer 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:

  • Energy efficiency will be optimized 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 minimize 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 and zero waste

  • Site is being designed to be industry-leading in efficiency and minimization of water usage
  • Once operational, the site is designed to minimize use of materials and waste through reuse and recycling, and any residual waste will not be sent to landfill

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