UK Government Funds $13 Million Green Distillery Program To Help Scotch Distilleries Become Eco Friendly

Bowmore Distillery Green Distillery Program

The United Kingdom Government has pledged £10 million (about $13 million) to help Scotch and Gin distilleries become more environmentally friendly via its new Green Distillery program. The money is part of a plan aimed at spurring green innovation across Scotland’s famed Whisky industry and burgeoning Gin scene.

The new fund will provide backing to UK distilleries to help them utilise energy sources such as low-carbon hydrogen, biomass, and repurposed waste to power their operations. The goal is to help prevent pollution equivalent to emissions from 100,000 cars from entering the atmosphere, contributing towards the UK’s target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, announced the opening of the £10m fund on Monday, stating, “Our plan to deliver a carbon-neutral future doesn’t just mean new jobs in new industries but helping some of our oldest industries to play their part as well. Scottish distilleries will not only be producing iconic drinks enjoyed the world over, but will now also be blazing a trail by developing cutting-edge, low-carbon technologies in the process. We want to harness the tremendous innovation of our distilleries so customers can enjoy their favourite tipple in the knowledge they are helping us to tackle climate change.”

The UK distillery industry is currently seeing massive growth. In 2019, the sector grew by 20 percent. Scotland is home to 133 malt and grain distilleries – the greatest concentration of Whisky producers in the world.

Dagmar Droogsma, director of industry at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “The Scotch Whisky industry welcomed the new Green Distilling Fund announced in the March Budget as an important step on our sustainability journey. The use of innovative technology is among several approaches that the industry could adopt as it works towards net-zero by 2045, as outlined in our recent net zero report. This fund will provide us with the opportunity to put forward bids for demonstration projects for so-far untested technologies, helping the Scotch whisky industry play its part in reaching Scotland’s emissions targets.”

Michael Bell, executive director of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, said: “Greening is essential to our industry’s future and this is to be welcomed. Interestingly, in the past five years I’ve seen more distilleries in Northern Ireland than in the last 50. It’s good to see the Government investing in food and drink businesses.”

The UK Government continues to ramp up its green economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, ahead of hosting the UN Climate Change talks in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021.

Visiting Benromach Distillery in Speyside, UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said, “This new funding from the UK Government will help the industry to continue the great work so far reducing emissions, adopting new green technologies and create more jobs, all vital on the path to recovery from coronavirus.” 

The program is supported by the £505 million (US$665 million) BEIS Energy Innovation Portfolio, which looks to boost the commercialisation of innovative, cheap, clean and reliable energy technologies.

The new Green Distilleries scheme opened Monday (August 17) and producers can register their interest to find more about the program via the government’s official website.