Company Goes Green With New Carbon Neutral Distillery In Kentucky

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Eco-News | January 10, 2024

Crystal clear river in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, early spring buds on deciduous trees.

Recently, the alcohol manufacturer Diageo announced that its newest distillery being built in Kentucky, would be completely carbon neutral.

Today, Perry Jones, president of North America Supply for Diageo—a London based company—explained that the whisky-making production site will be powered by 100 percent renewable electricity, able to manufacture nearly 10 million proof gallons a year, which is the same as 3.8 million 9-liter cases.

ABC News reported, “The $130 million distillery of Bulleit bourbon is expected to be fully operational in 2021.”

“As a company we know that our long-term sustainable growth depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change,” Perry Jones, president of the company explained. North

He added, “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.”

He explained that the move is another step in the company’s goal to source all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

ABC reported that in this case, the “renewable electricity will be supplied by Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative.”

According to the company, the distillery will incorporate other features to offset the carbon generated for production, and together the combined efforts will equal roughly 117,000 metric tons of carbon emissions. Or, about the same as removing 25,000 vehicles from operation for a year.

The new 72,000 sqft distillery will also include a dry house and warehouses, use electric boilers, instead of those powered by fossil fuel, and feature LED interior lighting with solar powered exterior.

The company explained that the warehouse interior lighting will also feature activity based sensors, so that it is only on during loading/unloading work. Lowered roofs will also help reduce heating and cooling requirements.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear praised Diageo’s actions, calling it “a notable example of a historic Kentucky industry embracing a new future.”

ABC explained, “Kentucky distillers produce about 95% of the world’s bourbon supply, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.
“The new Lebanon distillery, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Louisville, is on the southern tier of the state’s main bourbon production belt in central Kentucky. It reflects Diageo’s deepening commitment to bourbon production. The plant will supplement the company’s Kentucky operations at the Stitzel-Weller distillery in Louisville and its distillery at Shelbyville.”

You can also contribute to this effort by finding your current carbon emissions with an ecological footprint calculator and then partnering with carbon offsetting companies conducting carbon offsetting tree planting programs.