Environmentally Sound Distilleries: Lean Mean n’ Green Whisky Machines

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Whisk(e)y seems in essence to be one of the most naturally pure products produced in the world today.

If you think of it – the only ingredients (minus the  possibility of E150A caramel colouring – that’s another post altogether) are water, malted barley, yeast, wood, environment rich air, and of course – time.

Barley FieldSo it’s hard to believe that creating whisky would leave a big environmental footprint.

But the Scotch Whisky industry is very busy producing its glorious nectar for the world – and doing so leaves a sizeable mark.

And ironically for an industry founded on natural resources – nobody really seemed to care much up until fairly recently.

Thanks to solid planning and solid guidance – the Scotch Whisky industry has really made an effort to setting guidelines on turning things around and encouraging the shift into making the Scotch Whisky industry a global front-runner in reducing fossil fuel usage, as well as learning ways to efficiently use and recycle resources like wood and water.

Scotch Whisky Association LogoConcerned about this footprint – the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) put together an environmental strategy in 2009 that made it very clear that they intended for the Scotch Whisky industry to not just be meeting environmental standards – but they hoped the industry would put in an extra effort to help the industry earn a greener image.

And ever since – distilleries seem to be not only meeting the SWA’s expectations- but exceeding them as well.

Environmentally Sound Whisky?

Now I know – as you’re raising a glass of the water of life to your lips, environmental sustainability is the last thing on your mind right? And who can blame you?

But I’ve truly been amazed by some of the changes I’ve seen – and some of the great environmentally focused developments.

Recently, I came across a press release from drinks giant Diageo in which United Kingdom Prime Minster David Cameron applauded the efforts of Diageo in creating a £65million renewable bioenergy energy facility at Cameronbridge Distillery in Fife.

And he’s not the only one.

cameronbridge-distilleryThe plant makes energy from used “wash” – which is kind of like a sludge that contains all the stuff you used in distillation like grains, water, yeast. It separates the solids from the liquids and uses them both to create biofuel that cuts emissions and recycles water.

Diageo is no stranger to the green concept. If you’ve never seen their Roseisle Distillery – there’s a nice look at it on Inhabit.com – and with this project, it’s great to see this giant is continuing to innovate solutions in reducing whisky’s footprint.

As for me – I’m just beginning to open my eyes to see what’s being done.

And I, like David Cameron, applaud the efforts – and I’m excited to see more.

If you’ve come across any great examples of distilleries making the green effort- anywhere in the world – please share via comments. We’d love to hear about it! 

2 thoughts on “Environmentally Sound Distilleries: Lean Mean n’ Green Whisky Machines

  1. Joanne Anderson

    Randy, these are really amazing developments and very inspiring for other industries. You really convey the relevance of it. When I first moved to BC the environmental talk was mostly just that…talk. The rest of the country scoffed at the concepts. But the buzz words have taken root. The ideas have germinated into a movement. It’s one of those things that makes me glad that I live in this day and age. It’s easy to get behind something that’s a product of forward thinking and initiative.

    1. whiskeydrummer Post author

      Hey Joanne – Thanks for the insight!
      I agree – it’s nice to live in a time where the talk and buzz is now a “movement”. It’s just fascinating to see the innovation behind the ideas and the change that’s possible when companies are dedicated to making a shift!



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