If you know anything about US Whiskey brand Bulleit, it is that sustainability has always been a major tenet of the brand’s philosophy. It is therefore not surprising that the brand’s parent company Diageo have announced plans to build Bulleit the first-ever U.S. carbon-neutral distillery.
The new $130 million distillery, which is currently under construction in Lebanon, Kentucky, is believed to be fully operational in 2021. The site will have a capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons (or 3.8 million 9-litre cases) per year.
The site will utilise a mix of renewable electricity sources to power the new 72,000 square-foot (or 6,689sqm) distillery, as well as the dry house and warehousing facilities.
“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.
Diageo said it plans to incorporate several features to achieve carbon neutrality. Together, they should avoid more than 117,000 metric tons of annual carbon emissions, equal to taking more than 25,000 cars off the road for an entire year, it said.
The distillery will use electrode boilers rather than fossil-fuel-fired boilers. Exterior lighting will be solar-powered and all interiors will use be LED lighting, the company said.
Interior lighting in warehouses, where the whiskey matures, will only activate during loading or unloading work, and lowered roofs will minimise heating and cooling needs, the company added.
“For Bulleit, our passion for sustainability began when we built the Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, where we focus on reducing carbon emissions, water conservation and waste management during production,” said Sophie Kelly, SVP Whiskies, Diageo NA.
“Our commitment to the environment evolves with the Lebanon distillery, where no fossil fuels will be consumed for the production of Bulleit. This allows us to really begin to double down on our ambition to reinvent category standards.”
According to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the state produces about 95% of the world’s bourbon supply. Diageo has invested more than $500 million in Kentucky since 2014.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear applauded Diageo’s commitment to carbon neutrality, calling it “a notable example of a historic Kentucky industry embracing a new future.”