Diageo’s Lebanon Kentucky Distillery project is continuing to make progress toward its 2021 opening. The distillery was announced in late 2018 with an official ground breaking in July 2019. The new $130 million distillery is expected to produce 10 million proof gallons per year of Bulleit Bourbon and other Diageo American whiskeys.
The Largest Carbon Neutral Distillery in North America
Diageo says the new 72,000 square foot distillery will be carbon neutral – reinforcing Diageo’s global commitment to reducing its carbon emissions and addressing climate change. The site will be powered by 100% renewable electricity.
The new distillery will employ electrode boilers, the site will utilize a mix of renewable electricity sources to power the distillery, dry house, and warehousing facilities. The distillery reinforces Diageo’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions and moves the company closer to its goal of sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
“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.
“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.”
Watch the timelapse video below to see the progress that’s been made in the last 11 months since the groundbreaking.
Diageo Distillery Expected to Be 100% Carbon Neutral Infographic
To achieve carbon neutrality at the site, Diageo plans to incorporate a variety of features that will avoid annual carbon emissions by more than 117,000 metric tons. This is the equivalent of taking more than 25,000 cars off the road for an entire year.
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Key features of the new distillery.
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
“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.”
“We want to extend a warm welcome as Diageo makes this valuable investment in Lebanon-Marion County,” said Jerry Carter, President and CEO of Inter-County Energy, which will provide electric service to the Lebanon distillery. “Inter-County Energy is proud to work in partnership with Diageo and East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) to understand the energy needs of this facility and to develop innovative ways to meet the sustainability goals of one of the largest renewable energy consumers in Kentucky.”
Diageo Invests $500 Million in Kentucky
Once fully operational the facility will employ 30 full-time team members. Since 2014, Diageo has invested more than $500 million in Kentucky. This facility will supplement the company’s other Kentucky operations: Stitzel-Weller in Louisville and Bulleit Distilling Company in Shelbyville.
The new Diageo Lebanon Distillery and warehousing in Marion County, Kentucky will become neighbors with the likes of Maker’s Mark Distillery, Limestone Branch Distillery, Log Still Distillery (under construction) and Independent Stave’s Kentucky Cooperage.
View all Kentucky Distilleries.
 Both direct and indirect carbon emissions – comprising over 35,000 metric tons direct emissions, and over 82,000 metric tons of indirect emissions of CO2-eq
 According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator here).