Irish Distillers has today announced that it will invest €50 million in Midleton Distillery over the next four years, to deliver a carbon-neutral operation by the end of 2026.
According to Irish Distillers, this is the largest investment by an Irish distillery in pursuit of this ambition, putting Midleton on track to become Ireland’s first and largest carbon-neutral distillery.
Speaking about the launch of the project, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said, “We need to take better care of our planet. Enterprise has a role to play – not just in reducing emissions that come directly from their operations, but by innovating and creating new products and ways of doing things that will help us make the changes that are needed.
“Companies like Irish Distillers, who are committing to such bold and transformational change, will lead the way for many other similar businesses, and I commend the team for their ambition and commitment.”
Neutral Road Map
Irish Distillers explained that the carbon-neutral road map for Midleton Distillery will involve the roll-out of several projects aimed, firstly, at reducing overall energy use by improving on-site energy generation efficiency and recycling waste heat in the distillation process.
In time, the distillery’s remaining energy requirements will be fulfilled by generating power from renewable sources.
As part of the initial phases of the road map, Irish Distillers has invested in highly efficient boilers, which will require less fuel to operate.
The first three phases of the road map alone are expected to reduce emissions by up to 70%.
The final phases will see the introduction of renewable sources of energy, including green hydrogen and biogas to power the distillery and ‘close the door’ on natural gas usage, the company added.
Irish Distillers has also carried out extensive research in partnership with MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, hosted by University College Cork.
Regarding its wider value and supply chain, Irish Distillers has recently completed a mapping exercise of its entire carbon footprint.
Based on this data and the insights gathered, Irish Distillers has committed to working with suppliers on projects and initiatives to reduce Scope 3 emissions across all areas of its business, including raw materials, dry goods, transportation, logistics and freight.
Commenting on the announcement, Tommy Keane, operations director at Irish Distillers, said, “With the climate crisis at a critical juncture, Irish Distillers is committed to reducing our environmental impact across our entire value chain, and an area that we cannot ignore is how we power our distillery.
“While the technical challenges the team face in transforming our operations at Midleton Distillery to become carbon neutral are considerable, we believe that with the help and support of our partners at home and across the globe, this is possible. We are committed to doing the right thing for our industry, people and communities. Together, we can make a real impact.”
Conor McQuaid, CEO and chairman of Irish Distillers, outlined that today’s announcement is reflective of the company’s commitment and ambition to reduce its environmental impact.
“We understand that our long-term future depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. This plan was many years in the making, and we understand that there are many more years ahead to reach our goal.
“However, we are confident that by making this bold and brave move into the future, we will leave fossil fuels behind for good. Through the delivery of this plan, we hope to play our part in supporting Ireland’s decarbonising strategy while also aligning with Pernod Ricard’s commitment to follow a net-zero trajectory by 2050.”