Diageo announces plans for Kentucky whiskey distillery producing Bulleit to be one of largest carbon-neutral distilleries in North America
Diageo, a British multinational beverage alcohol company, has announced that its new Kentucky whiskey distillery, which will distil Bulleit, is expected to be carbon neutral – one of the largest in North America, and a first for Diageo. Reinforcing Diageo’s global commitment to reducing its carbon emissions and addressing climate change, the site will be powered by 100% renewable electricity, with a capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year.
The new distillery, which is currently under construction in Lebanon, Kentucky, reflects Diageo’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions and moves the company closer to its goal of sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Employing electrode boilers, the site will utilise a mix of renewable electricity sources to power a 72,000 square-foot distillery, dry house, and warehousing facilities.
As previously announced “The Diageo Lebanon Distillery” will have the capability to distil a variety of bourbon and American whiskey brands. Bulleit will be the first and lead brand produced at the new distillery – supplementing existing production at The Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, Kentucky. This move will further strengthen the brand’s commitment to a more sustainable future.
“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. 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.”
“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. Then, when we opened our Visitor Experience there, we chose to implement practices like eliminating single-use plastics from our bar and sourcing locally-grown organic cocktail garnishes from our onsite garden,” 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.”
To achieve carbon neutrality at the site, Diageo plans to incorporate a variety of features that will avoid annual carbon emissions by more than 117,000 metric tons. This is the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 cars off the road for an entire year.
These features include electrode boilers which will enable the avoidance of direct carbon emissions that would normally be generated by the use of fossil-fuel-fired boilers. Electrode boilers also offer benefits that include reduced noise pollution and reduction of other air contaminants.
All vehicles operated onsite, including trucks and forklifts, will be electric, and charged on site by renewable energy. 100% of the steam used onsite – for the cooking, distillation and drying process – will be generated by the electrode boilers (which are powered by the renewable electricity)
Energy efficiency will be optimised in the new electric boilers, exterior lighting will be solar-powered, all onsite interior lighting will be a light-emitting diode (LED), warehouse interior lighting will only activate during loading or unloading activities, and lowered roofs will minimise heating and cooling requirements.
Long term contracts with the local utility will allow for the purchase of zero greenhouse gas emission electricity from certified renewable sources. Renewable electricity will be supplied by Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC). The site is being designed to be industry-leading in efficiency and minimisation of water usage. Once operational, the site is designed to minimise the use of materials and waste through reuse and recycling, and any residual waste will not be sent to landfill.
“I welcome Diageo’s commitment to carbon neutrality and using renewable electric at its Bulleit distillery in Lebanon. This is a notable example of a historic Kentucky industry embracing a new future,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.
“To continue the commonwealth’s economic recovery, attract business investment and create jobs for Kentuckians across all counties, it’s important we and our economic development partners provide a cost-competitive energy mix. Energy diversity is something more industries are considering when they choose where to locate, and offering the right mix will help us provide a brighter future for generations to come.”
“We want to extend a warm welcome as Diageo makes this valuable investment in Lebanon-Marion County,” said Jerry Carter, President and CEO of Inter-County Energy, which will provide electric service to the Lebanon distillery.
“Inter-County Energy is proud to work in partnership with Diageo and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) to understand the energy needs of this facility and to develop innovative ways to meet the sustainability goals of one of the largest renewable energy consumers in Kentucky.”