The facility, with capacity to produce up to 20 million LAA’s (litres of absolute alcohol, the equivalent to 10.5 million proof gallons) annually, will sit on approximately 400 acres in Ontario’s St. Clair Township, and includes a distillery, as well as blending and warehousing operations.
Construction is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2022, and the distillery is expected to be operational in 2025.
The new Diageo St. Clair Distillery will supplement the company’s existing Canadian manufacturing operations in Amherstburg, Ontario, Gimli, Manitoba, and Valleyfield, Quebec. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Diageo employs approximately 700 people in Canada and is one of the major producers of spirits in the country. Over the last 3 years, the company has invested about $75m ($58m) to develop production capabilities in Canada.
Growth in whisky
Crown Royal Canadian Whisky is the No.1 selling Canadian whisky brand in the world and North America’s most valuable whisk(e)y brand, according to IWSR figures.
The growth of the brand has been driven by the popularity of Canadian whisky and innovations which bring new whisky experiences to consumers, reports Diageo. These innovations include Crown Royal Apple and rare, high-end luxury offerings like the recently released Crown Royal 18.
Canadian whisky contributed 7% of Diageo’s global net sales and Crown Royal grew 12% in the first half of fiscal F22.
Carbon neutral design
The carbon neutral design will be informed by Diageo’s sustainability action plan, called ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’.
It will feature resource efficiency technologies and will operate with 100% renewable energy to ensure the new distillery is carbon neutral and zero-waste to landfill from all direct operations.
“A low-carbon world is essential for a sustainable future, so I am thrilled to announce our first carbon neutral distillery in Canada as we continue to build momentum in our journey to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030,” said Perry Jones, President, North America Supply for Diageo. “We celebrate such a significant milestone for our Crown Royal brand, our North American operations and global footprint.”
Diageo has committed to reach net-zero carbon across its direct operations by 2030, using 100% renewable energy. The company is also working to achieve net zero carbon across the entire supply chain by 2050 or sooner, with an interim milestone to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030.
In North America, Diageo plans to transition its Valleyfield manufacturing site in Quebec, Canada to become carbon neutral by 2025, and opened its first carbon neutral whiskey distillery on the continent in Lebanon, Kentucky, to support Bulleit Bourbon.
On a global scale, three of Diageo’s distilleries in Scotland - Brora, Royal Lochnagar and Oban - have achieved carbon neutrality, and the company announced recently that it is also building a carbon neutral whisky distillery in China.