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Diageo opens first carbon-neutral distillery

Diageo is celebrating the opening of its first carbon-neutral whiskey distillery.

The 72,000 square-foot facility in Lebanon, Kentucky, uses electrode boilers powered by 100 per cent renewable energy and has the capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year. 

Bulleit Bourbon is the first and lead brand to be distilled at the Diageo Lebanon Distillery, supplementing existing production capacity at the Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

To power the new facility - the largest of its kind in north America - Diageo has partnered with Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) to source a mix of wind and solar energy to power internal and external lighting, distillery equipment, and a fleet of on-site electric vehicles.

Digital metering technology has also been implemented at the site to collect data on water, electricity and steam usage that will drive resource efficiency. Estimates show that this technology could help the distillery to avoid more than 117,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

It echoes efforts being made by Diageo at its distilleries in Scotland to reduce their carbon footprint.

As well as acting progressively on energy sourcing and usage, the Lebanon site will support 30 full-time jobs and source 100 per cent non-GMO corn from local producers.

Perry Jones, president of North America supply at Diageo, said: "Two years ago, we set a vision and commitment to build our first carbon-neutral distillery in North America. 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 energy. This is a significant step in our journey to create a low-carbon future."

Sophie Kelly, senior vice president of whiskies, Diageo North America, added: "At Bulleit, we believe we have a responsibility to our environment, our communities, and our planet. We are proud to initiate the production of Bulleit Bourbon at the carbon-neutral Lebanon Distillery, as we take a significant step forward in the brand's long-lasting commitment to sustainability."

28 September 2021 - Bethany Whymark