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Diageo completes carbon neutral distillery

Johnnie Walker owner Diageo has opened its first carbon neutral whiskey distillery in Kentucky, one of the largest of its kind in North America.

Diageo's carbon neutral distillery
The new production site will source non-genetically modified corn locally for the production of whiskey

Located in Lebanon, Kentucky, in the US, the Diageo Lebanon Distillery is a 72,000-square-foot facility, and will operate using 100% renewable electricity.

The site will produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year without using fossil fuels for production.

Perry Jones, president, North America supply for Diageo, said: “Two years ago, we set a vision and commitment to build our first carbon neutral distillery in North America.

“Now that the Diageo Lebanon Distillery is operational, I’m incredibly proud of the innovative actions from our teams and partners to fully electrify the facilities and power them with renewable electricity.”

The new facility complements Diageo’s commitment to sustainability as part of its Society 2030: Spirit of Progress plan. The company is aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from all direct operations by 2030.

Jones added: “This is a significant step in our journey to create a low-carbon future and be part of the solution to tackle the ongoing climate crisis.”

Diageo is also hoping to achieve net-zero carbon across the entire supply chain by 2050 or sooner.

The distillery was established in partnership with Inter-County and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), and will create 30 full-time jobs.

The facility’s first brand of whiskey to be produced will be Bulleit Bourbon, which it has already started distilling using electrode boilers powered by renewable energy.

Sophie Kelly, senior vice-president, whiskies portfolio, Diageo North America, said: “At Bulleit, we believe we have a responsibility to our environment, our communities, and our planet.

“We are proud to initiate the production of Bulleit Bourbon at the carbon neutral Lebanon Distillery, as we take a significant step forward in the brand’s long-lasting commitment to sustainability.”

As well as powering onsite electric vehicles, lighting and equipment using renewable energy, the distillery’s virtual metering technology has been implemented to drive the company’s efficient use of resources.

Diageo has revealed its production site will help save 117,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, which is the equivalent of taking 25,000 cars off the road, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

In April this year, the spirits giant, which saw its full-year sales climb by 16% in July, revealed its project for sustainable glass bottle production. This initiative aims to reduce the carbon footprint of a glass whiskey bottle by up to 90%.

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