Global beverage company Diageo has opened its first carbon neutral distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky. The site will support the local community with 30 full-time jobs while also sourcing 100% non-GMO corn locally. The 72,000 square-foot facility has the capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year and 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 Diageo Lebanon Distillery –and supplements existing production at the nearby Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Designed with sustainability at its core, the distillery is built to ensure that fossil fuels are not used during production. By partnering with Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), Diageo is sourcing a mix of wind and solar energy to power the electrode boilers, onsite electric vehicles, internal and external lighting and equipment making the facility one of the largest of its kind in North America. The site has implemented virtual metering technology to advance visibility of water, electricity, and steam usage, collecting key data that is used to drive the company’s resource efficiency and sustainability. These technologies will allow the Diageo Lebanon Distillery to avoid approximately more than 117,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 cars off the road for a year.
“Two years ago, we set a vision and commitment to build our first carbon neutral distillery in North America. 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,” said Perry Jones, President, North America Supply for Diageo.
In addition to the sustainability features of the new facility, Diageo implemented an optimized staffing model consisting of Bourbon Production Experts (BPE’s) responsible for all aspects of distillery, dry house, and operations. By rotating the BPE’s through each operational area to ensure depth of knowledge and flexibility, Diageo aims to accelerate the development of future leaders, ensuring a focus on gender equity and diversity to help shape the industry.
“At Bulleit, we believe we have a responsibility to our environment, our communities, and our planet. We are proud to initiate the production of Bulleit Bourbon at the carbon neutral Lebanon Distillery, as we take a significant step forward in the brand’s long-lasting commitment to sustainability,” said Sophie Kelly, SVP Whiskies, Diageo NA.