Good Spirited: Dewar’s Blends Whisky and Sustainability

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Dewar’s produces some of the world’s finest scotch. At the same time, the family-owned Bacardi brand is setting industry-leading sustainability standards, starting with last year’s installation of a biomass boiler that cut its carbon footprint by 90 percent.

“Traditionally, distilleries are heavy users of fossil fuel—and that’s not good for the environment,” stated Iain Lochhead, Operations Director at John Dewar & Sons Ltd., in a press release. “We had many ideas for reducing fossil fuel usage and explored several options, but we settled on a biomass boiler.”

David Williamson, Public Affairs & Communications Director, for the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) called it “a sea change in the industry approach,” in the release. “Moving away from boilers that use heavy fuel oil—to more efficient wood pellets—helps reduce energy costs and lower emissions into the environment. So we develop the industry as we nurture local surroundings and deliver a sustainable industry.”

“We estimate that under the current production schedule, we will reduce our carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources by up to six thousand tons per year of carbon dioxide at the Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery,” added Lochhead. All five of Dewar’s malt distilleries have achieved significant reductions.

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The biomass project is one part of the Bacardi Limited “Good Spirited” sustainability program with three specific goals in an effort to reach a net zero impact: responsible sourcing, global packaging and operational efficiencies.

Founded 153 years ago in Santiago de Cuba, Dewar’s now manufactures its brands at 29 facilities and sells in more than 160 countries. “Our distilleries were set in areas of tremendous natural beauty and environmentally sensitive areas before the word sustainable was being used,” said Stephanie Macleod, Dewar’s Master Blender in a press release, referring to the establishment of Dewar’s in 1846.

“We are still one of a very few companies in the distilling industry accredited by the Carbon Trust Standard,” added Lochhead. “We are not just patting ourselves on the back; rather we are proud to have approval from a widely respected external body.”

“Scotland is a small country of just five million people—and Scotch whisky is at the heart of our economy,” added Williamson. “The industry supports 35,000 jobs. We want to take this industry forward, invest and grow—while ensuring we protect that natural, pristine environment to support Scotch whisky for many years to come.”

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