A new Lebanon, Kentucky distillery is currently under construction for Bulleit Bourbon – and parent company Diageo plans for the facility to be completely carbon neutral.

This will be one of the largest sites of its kind in North America to strive for carbon neutrality. Diageo intends for the distillery to be powered by 100% renewable energy and to produce 10 million proof gallons per year. The new facility will supplement Bulleit’s current distillery and brand home in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

To achieve this, the company plans to incorporate a variety of features that they state will avoid annual carbon emissions by more than 117,000 metric tons. According to a press release from Diageo, these features include: 

  • 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

“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 in a press release this morning. “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. This is a significant step to strengthen our commitment to minimizing our carbon emissions and will result in an important reduction of Diageo’s environmental impact on a global level.” 

“For Bulleit, our passion for sustainability began when we built the Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, where we focus on reducing carbon emissions, water conservation and waste management during production. Then, when we opened our Visitor Experience there, we chose to implement practices like eliminating single use plastics from our bar and sourcing locally-grown organic cocktail garnishes from our onsite garden,” said Sophie Kelly, SVP Whiskies, Diageo NA. “Our commitment to the environment evolves with the Lebanon distillery, where no fossil fuels will be consumed for the production of Bulleit. This allows us to really begin to double down on our ambition to reinvent category standards.”

“I welcome Diageo’s commitment to carbon neutrality and using renewable electric at its Bulleit distillery in Lebanon. This is a notable example of a historic Kentucky industry embracing a new future,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “To continue the commonwealth’s economic recovery, attract business investment and create jobs for Kentuckians across all counties, it’s important we and our economic development partners provide a cost-competitive energy mix. Energy diversity is something more industries are considering when they choose where to locate, and offering the right mix will help us provide a brighter future for generations to come.”

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