Diageo has opened its first carbon neutral distillery in Lebanon, KY, a 72,000 square-foot facility with the capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year.
The site has begun distilling Bulleit Bourbon using electrode boilers that are powered by 100% renewable electricity throughout the cooking, distillation, and dry house processes. Bulleit is the first and lead brand being produced at the distillery, which supplements existing production at a nearby Bulleit distillery in Shelbyville, KY.
The distillery has been designed to ensure fossil fuels aren’t used during production. Diageo has partnered with the Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative to source a mix of wind and solar energy to power the electrode boilers, onsite electric vehicles, internal and external lighting and equipment.
The No. 36 consumer goods company also implemented virtual metering technology to advance visibility of water, electricity, and steam usage, and will collect data used to further propel its resource efficiency and sustainability.
These technologies enable the facility to avoid approximately more than 117,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, according to Diageo.
“Two years ago, we set a vision and commitment to build our first carbon neutral distillery in North America,” said Perry Jones, Diageo president, North America supply. “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. 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.”
The company has also implemented what it’s termed an optimized staffing model, in which bourbon production experts (BPE) will rotate through each operational area to ensure depth of knowledge and flexibility. Through this method, Diageo intends to accelerate the development of future leaders, as well as ensuring a focus on gender equity and diversity.
Diageo includes such brands as Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One in its portfolio.