Diageo is no indie beer company, obviously, with brands like Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and more under its keep, but the global booze purveyor’s plans for its new Kentucky whiskey distillery, are cool and worth sharing.
Diageo broke ground on the $130 million distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky, in July of 2019, and the site is expected to be fully operational in 2021. Once fully operational the facility will employ 30 full-time team members and produce Bulleit. The cool part is the site will be both carbon neutral and powered by 100% renewable electricity, with a capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year.
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 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.”
Here’s how they will do it
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.
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
“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.”