Beam Suntory commits US$400m to Kentucky distillery to increase capacity and sustainability

US – Beam Suntory, the third largest producer of distilled beverages worldwide, plans to invest more than US$400million in renewable energy systems while boosting bourbon production at its largest Kentucky distillery.

The investment will help the Booker Noe distillery in Boston, Kentucky, to have a capacity increase of 50%, to meet the growing demand for its bourbon, the company said.

In addition, the subsidiary of a Japanese multinational brewing and distilling company group, Suntory Holdings, aims to reduce the distillery’s greenhouse gas emissions by the same percentage.

The company said it is also investing in anaerobic digestors and will aim to reduce the emissions of this expanded site by some percentage.

The digestors will also produce a high-quality, low-cost fertilizer, which will be made available to local farmers.

The project will also enable the distiller to invest in high-efficiency gas boilers to make maximum use of renewable natural gas, and use scrubbing technology to remove carbon dioxide from fermentation tanks.

After this purification process will see more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide reused on the site annually.

Beam Suntory claims that once the expansion is completed in 2024, 65% of the power needed for the distillery will come from renewable natural gas, with the remaining 35% will be sourced from fossil-based natural gas.

This would be part of Beam Suntory’s plan of increasing the use of renewables across its global sites to nearly 100%, utilizing a range of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and onsite installations.

CEO of Beam Suntory, Albert Baladi said: “We are committed to making a difference by investing in cleaner technologies and systems, and the expansion and significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from this project does just that with our biggest brand.”

“This expansion will help ensure we meet future demand for our iconic bourbon in a sustainable way that supports the environment and the local community that has helped build and support Jim Beam.”

The company is aiming to halve emissions from its direct operations by 2030 against a 2019 baseline. The firm’s latest sustainability report, released last week, confirms that Beam Suntory has reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 12%.

The company is yet to build towards a 30% reduction in Scope 3 emissions for the same timeframe, but has started working with suppliers to map out data on “net-zero emissions roadmaps”.

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