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Diageo plans carbon neutral distillery in Kentucky

Drinks giant Diageo has revealed plans to make its Bulleit Bourbon brand’s new whiskey distillery the company’s first carbon-neutral production site.

An artist’s impression of what the Lebannon facility could look like on completion. (Photo: Diageo)

The distillery, which is currently under construction in Lebanon, Kentucky, will run on 100% renewable electricity and use electrode boilers and a mix of renewable energy sources to power the 72,000-square-foot facility.

All onsite vehicles such as trucks and forklifts will be electric, and charged onsite with renewable energy, which will be supplied by Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), according to the company.

Diageo first announced plans to build the bourbon facility, which will cost an estimated $130 million (£106 million) to complete, in 2018. The plan includes a new distillery and warehouse based on a 144-acre site in Lebanon, and is set to be up and running by 2021.

If this is achieved, it will be one of the first major steps Diageo takes to reach its goal of 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The distillery will have the capacity to produce 3.8 million 9lr cases per year, and will be used to distill Diageo’s current bourbon brands, as well as new lines that may launch in the future.

“We know that our long-term sustainable growth depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change,” said Perry Jones, Diageo’s president, North America supply.

Jones said the “groundbreaking” move will make Bulleit’s production site “one of the largest carbon neutral distilleries in North America.”

“This is a significant step to strengthen our commitment to minimising our carbon emissions and will result in an important reduction of Diageo’s environmental impact on a global level.”

The Lebannon sites will supplement the company’s American whiskey production which currently takes place at still houses in Louisville and Shelbyville.

“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,” Sophie Kelly, senior vice president of Diageo’s whiskey business, said.

“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.”

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