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Jim Beam ploughs US$400 million into green energy

The Suntory-owned Bourbon producer has announced it will invest US$400 million in renewable energy to boost production at its largest Kentucky distillery.

Jim Beam’s Booker Noe distillery in Boston, Kentucky, will see its capacity increase by 50%, in order to meet growing demand for its Bourbon, the company announced on Wednesday. Fundamental to these plans is a new green energy push from the brand, which will enable it to boost production.

The whiskey producer plans to power the facility, located around 36 miles south of Louisville, with renewable natural gas, which is essentially an upgraded, methane-heavy biogas.

Beam has also entered into an agreement with 3 Rivers Energy Partners to build another facility across the road to transfer and convert waste from its production process. This will utilise a “high-quality, low-cost fertiliser”, which will also be made available to local farmers, according to the company.

“This expansion will help ensure we meet future demand for our iconic Bourbon in a sustainable way that supports the environment and the local community that has helped build and support Jim Beam,” said CEO Albert Baladi.

The project is expected to create dozens of jobs in Kentucky, where 95% of the world’s Bourbon is produced, and Jim Beam anticipates completing this phase of its green energy plans by 2024.

By then, the company said, its Booker Noe distillery will be powered by 65% renewable natural gas, and 35% fossil-based natural gas.

Reinforcing its renewable energy will help support the whiskey brand’s continued product innovation. Jim Beam has already moved into the RTD space with Jim Beam Classic Highball and Jim Beam Ginger Highball canned cocktails and this year also launched a premium whiskey brand Hardin’s Creek. A permanent addition to the Beam line-up, Hardin’s Creek is set to feature an “ongoing series of annual releases,” which the brand describes as incorporating some of Jim Beam’s “rarest and most unique liquid.”

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