Kentucky Whiskey Distillery to be Powered by 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030

by | Jun 29, 2020

Global beverage maker Diageo announced today that its new Kentucky whiskey distillery, which will distill Bulleit, is expected to be carbon neutral — one of the largest in North America, and a first for Diageo. 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, moves the company closer to its goal of sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Employing electrode boilers, the site will utilize 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 distill 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.

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. These features include:

  • Electrification of operations: 
    • Electrode boilers 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 onsite 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 embedded into facility design: 
    • Energy efficiency will be optimized in the new electric boilers.
    • Exterior lighting will be solar powered.
    • All onsite interior lighting will be light-emitting diode (LED).
    • Warehouse interior lighting will only activate during loading or unloading activities.
    • Lowered roofs will minimize heating and cooling requirements.
  • Sourcing renewable electricity: 
    • 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).
  • Water savings design
    • Site is being designed to be industry-leading in efficiency and minimization of water usage.
  • Zero waste to landfill
    • Once operational, the site is designed to minimize use of materials and waste through reuse and recycling, and any residual waste will not be sent to landfill.

Committed to decarbonization with approved science-based targets, Diageo is part of a group of organizations that are supporting the Sustainable Development Goals through membership of the United Nations Global Compact, We Mean Business Coalition, RE100 and other key global advocacy organizations.

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