“A number of whisky companies are part of an industry consortium looking at sustainable ways of processing by-products from our distilleries,” says Iain Lochhead (pictured right), operations director for John Dewar & Sons, owned by the Bacardi group.
Speyside is home to around 50 whisky distilleries. Rothes, in the heart of that region, is the site of a new, blended-biomass plant that generates heat and power for local communities. It works by burning draff (the spent grains used in the distilling process) with woodchips to create steam-generating electricity.
Rothes CoRDe managing director Frank Burns said: “We generate 8.3 megawatts of electricity every hour of every day. We use some onsite and export the rest – enough for 20,000 people in 8,000 homes. We are powering all of the local communities.
Apparently another innovation is converting pot ale – the residue from copper whisky stills – into organic feedstock that local farmers use for their animals.
“By recovering by-products from our distilleries, we turn them into material of purpose and value,” adds Burns. “Ultimately, everything we make, whether it’s animal feed – or even the ash from our boiler process – goes back to the land or to the farm.”
As part of the Bacardi group, Dewars honours the spirit of sustainability. “We believe we are doing our part in protecting the environment of Scotland,” says Lochhead. “Since we use natural ingredients to make our whisky, we want to leave our surroundings in the same pristine condition as we find them.”
The CoRDe project is part of a scope of sustainability initiatives for John Dewar & Sons, producers of Dewar’s blended scotch whisky, William Lawson’s blended scotch and the single malt brands of Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, The Deveron and Royal Brackla.
As part of Bacardi, John Dewar & Sons says it honours the spirit of sustainability with these benchmarks at its five malt distilleries:
· 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2006;
· 46% reduction in water use since 2009;
· 30% reduction of waste to landfill since 2010.