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The Boatyard becomes first B Corp-certified Irish distillery

In recognition of its drive for environmental and social sustainability, The Boatyard Distillery in Ulster has become the first distillery on the island of Ireland to be granted B Corp status.

B Corp status, the sustainability certification granted by B Lab, has become a hot topic in the drinks industry, with last year seeing the announcement of the first B Corp Champagne and Tequila brands.

Receiving a score of 92 points in an assessment of its environmental and social impact (80 is the minimum for a pass), gin and vodka maker The Boatyard Distillery has now become the first distillery on the island of Ireland to receive the coveted status. Explaining what measures were taken to reach this milestone, CEO and founder Joe McGirr told db: “We setup an internal team called ‘Better Boatyard’ led by one of our own, Rebecca McGorty. Through this journey we have brought in many changes across our processes.”

“Some of the most successful include eliminating all single use bottles from our distillery tours. This made perfect sense since all of our production happens on site and has a result, we’ve been able to reduce vast quantities of packaging waste. We also have a Refill system at the distillery which encourages locals to come to the distillery and refill their bottles with their choice of product. We are big believers in recycling where some of our botanical waste gets converted into a chocolate bar with the help of a local artisan chocolatier called Proper Chocolate and the rest is used for compost. Our liquid waste goes into a biofuel plant and gets converted into energy which goes back into the national grid and our spent grain goes to a local farmer less than a mile away. There are many more examples, but we are still only at the start of our sustainability journey and hope to make huge strides over the coming 12 to 24 months.”

One such measure has been the development of 100% recyclable, refillable pouches available in a 2.8 litre format and aimed at bars and restaurants. Commercial director Declan McGurk said: “More and more bar and restaurant partners are becoming sustainably minded and we want to support this. Our pouches offer increased capacity at a lower price point. It’s a win-win for everyone and a step forward to continue eliminating needless waste.”

As for if the hope is to encourage other distillers in Ireland to pursue B Corp status, McGirr said: “We intend to champion B Corp across Ireland and have been engaging with other businesses not just distilleries. There are already distilleries in Ireland doing some fantastic work in this area. The great thing about B Corp is that it’s not just one thing. It holds the principal that as a collective force we can make a real difference. Not just on environmental issues but across social performance and sustainability with full public transparency and legal accountability.”

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