Midleton Distillery aims for carbon-neutral status by 2026By Alice Brooker
Pernod Ricard-owned Irish Distillers is investing €50 million (US$52.2m) to make Midleton the first and largest carbon-neutral distillery by 2026.
Midleton Distillery, based in County Cork, Ireland, is home to Irish whiskey brands including Jameson, Powers, Redbreast, Midleton Very Rare, Spot and the experimental Method and Madness range.
Its €50m investment over the next four years will fund projects designed to phase out the use of fossil fuels to power its operation.
It is said to be the largest investment by an Irish distillery for carbon-neutralisation, putting Midleton Distillery on track to become Ireland’s first and largest carbon-neutral distillery.
The Tánaiste of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, said: “Congratulations to the entire Irish Distillers team for blazing a trail, investing an incredible €50m to become Ireland’s first carbon-neutral distillery by 2026. We need to take better care of our planet.
“Enterprise has a role to play, not just in reducing emissions that come directly from their operations, but by innovating and creating new products and ways of doing things that will help us make the changes that are needed. Companies like Irish Distillers that are committing to such bold and transformational change will lead the way for many other similar businesses, and I commend the team for their ambition and commitment.”
The plan involves reducing overall energy use by improving on-site energy generation efficiency and recycling waste heat in the distillation process.
Following this, in time the distillery is aiming for remaining energy requirements to be fulfilled by generating power from renewable sources.
As part of the investment, ‘highly efficient’ boilers will be installed which will require less fuel to operate.
The first three phases of the roadmap alone are expected to reduce emissions by up to 70 per cent, according to the distillery. The final phases will see the introduction of renewable sources of energy, including green hydrogen and biogas to power the distillery.
“First and largest carbon-neutral distillery in Ireland by 2026”
Conor McQuaid, CEO and chairman at Irish Distillers, said: “Today is a hugely significant day for Irish Distillers as we announce our ambition for Midleton Distillery to become the first and largest carbon-neutral distillery in Ireland by 2026. This announcement is reflective of our commitment and ambition to reduce our environmental impact.
“We understand that our long-term future depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. This plan was many years in the making, and we understand that there are many more years ahead to reach our goal. However, we are confident that by making this bold and brave move into the future, we will leave fossil fuels behind for good.
“Through the delivery of this plan, we hope to play our part in supporting Ireland’s decarbonising strategy while also aligning with Pernod Ricard’s commitment to follow a Net Zero trajectory by 2050.”
The move is a significant step in Pernod Ricard’s 2030 Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap.
Tommy Keane, operations director at Irish Distillers, said: “With the climate crisis at a critical juncture, Irish Distillers is committed to reducing our environmental impact across our entire value chain and an area that we cannot ignore is how we power our distillery.
“While the technical challenges the team face in transforming our operations at Midleton Distillery to become carbon-neutral are considerable, we believe that with the help and support of our partners at home and across the globe, this is possible.
“We are committed to doing the right thing for our industry, people, and communities. Together, we can make a real impact.”
In November 2021, €13 million (US$14.7m) was invested in Midleton Distillery for the redevelopment of its visitor experience, expected to be completed in 2025.