‘Designed with sustainability at the core’: Diageo opens its first carbon neutral whiskey distillery in North America

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Diageo's Lebanon distillery. Pic: Diageo
Diageo's Lebanon distillery. Pic: Diageo

Related tags Diageo Sustainability

Diageo has opened its first carbon neutral distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky: which is being used to produce Bulleit Bourbon and will later expand to other bourbon and American Whiskey brands.

The facility is one of the largest of its kind in North America: operating with 100% renewable electricity, zero fossil fuels for production, and virtual metering technology.

The 72,000 square-foot facility has the capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year and has begun distilling Bulleit Bourbon using electrode boilers that are powered by 100% renewable electricity throughout the cooking, distillation, and dry house processes.

Bulleit is the first and lead brand being produced at the Lebanon Distillery –and supplements existing production at the nearby Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, Kentucky. The site new has created 30 full time jobs.

Taking 25,000 cars off the road per year

The distillery has been built to ensure that fossil fuels are not used during production.

A partnership with Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), allows the facility to source a mix of wind and solar energy to power the electrode boilers, onsite electric vehicles, internal and external lighting and equipment.

Virtual metering technology tracks water, electricity, and steam usage, collecting key data that is used to drive the company’s resource efficiency and sustainability. Diageo estimates this will allow the distillery to avoid approximately more than 117,000 metric tons ​of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 cars off the road for a year.

By sourcing renewable electricity and electrifying operations, the vast majority of the site’s needs will be covered and it will only require ‘residual amounts’ of carbon offsets to be purchased.

“Two years ago, we set a vision and commitment to build our first carbon neutral distillery in North America,” ​said Perry Jones, president, North America supply for Diageo.

“Now that the Diageo Lebanon Distillery is operational, I’m incredibly proud of the innovative actions from our teams and partners to fully electrify the facilities and power them with renewable electricity. This is a significant step in our journey to create a low carbon future and be part of the solution to tackle the ongoing climate crisis.”

Across its business, Diageo has set targets to reach net-zero carbon across direct operations by 2030, including 100% renewable energy. It also wants to achieve net-zero carbon across its supply chain by 2050 or sooner; with an interim milestone to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030.

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