Whisky Makers Use New Technologies to Go Green
April 21, 2023 –––––– Jonny McCormick
As the world marks Earth Day on April 22nd, whisky makers have been doing their part. In Scotland as elsewhere, the industry has made substantial investments to reduce emissions—using greener forms of energy, devising energy and water-saving ideas to make whisky distillation more efficient, exploring CO2 capture, reducing packaging weight, and recycling casks. Not surprisingly, some of Scotland’s newest distilleries like Ardgowan, Arbikie, Ardnamurchan, InchDairnie, and Nc’Nean have been quick to adapt, but the bigger players are all implementing massive programs. Here are just some of the many examples of distilleries that are working to go green.
The Scotch Whisky Association has set a target of 2040 for distillery operations to be net zero. Chivas Brothers is working to achieve that goal by 2026, investing in Mechanical Vapor Recompression (MVR) technology for its stills, which uses energy recovered from the spirit vapor to boil the stills.
One to Try: A’bunadh, 61.2%, $100
Pernod Ricard has announced a $250-million investment to build a carbon-neutral distillery for Jefferson’s Bourbon, which will include electrode boilers rather than fossil fuels for distillation, as well as electric trucks on site, and solar lighting.
One to Try: Reserve, 45.1%, $65
Isle of Jura is using an innovative new self-repairing limewash coating on its distillery buildings that will absorb CO2, as part of Whyte & Mackay’s Green Print that sets out their sustainability program across their distilleries.
One to Try: Jura 10 year old, 40%, $50
The movement to restore native Irish trees includes Teeling’s replanting initiatives in Co. Wicklow through its Wonders of Wood series, but tree planting projects have also been undertaken in Ireland on the Slane estate by Slane Whiskey and Irish Distillers through its Midleton Very Rare Dair Ghaelach series.
One to Try: Teeling Wonders of Wood Chinkapin Oak, 50%, $100
Through its network of farming partnerships and a commitment to organic and biodynamic farming, to the employment of an agronomist and terroir specialist, Waterford has led the way in showing whisky’s connection to the land and agriculture.
One to Try: Cuvée Argot, 47%, $60
Westland has committed to using sustainably sourced barley, reducing energy use, and restoring the Garry oaks to the Pacific Northwest.
One to Try: Garryana, 50%, $150